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review norwegian epic cruise

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review norwegian epic cruise

Beautiful ship and plenty to do, but if customer service attiude is important to you, don't take this cruise line. In additon to feeling like we were being nickel and dimed for everything on board, when we did express concern to concierge desk they clearly had no authority or empowerment to help. A friend was frustrated because the desk couldn't find a $50 dollar email coupon she had submitted and was only told it might take days to resolve,if ever. They should have offered her another coupin on the spot. Instead they sent her some chocolates! Norwegan should take a page out of great customer service brands,like nordstrom, and empower staff to address issues on the spot, especially for the price they charge, if they want repeat customers.

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Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

Thanks for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise despite the customer service etc. I have to admit that poor customer service is one of my bugbears - what was the issue for you on the Epic?

I've never been on a NCL ship before. It's a shame your friend lost the coupon ... perhaps it would have been a good idea to make a copy of it ... I always do for important docs or docs which may be misplaced.

Re the "nickel and dime" issue - I've heard that about a few differnent cruise lines .... what specifically were you thinking of when you mentioned this?

The reason I ask is because others may use this forum for research and may want to know too.

Ambilly, France
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2. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

Hi,

having already been several times on NCL, I would like to bring my experience as little as it can be.

To be sure to enjoy your cruise you have to decide what is important for you and what can be considered as second base!

With my wife we do appreciate the possibility to choose our own schedule whenvere we want to do stuff or eat.. NCL freestyle for that is just great! being in an enormous ship and having the feeling that everything turns around your own small world!

We have not been on the Epic yet.. In june though it will be done.

So if I cant say about that boat but I can say from a global view about NCL a few things:

Tips: If I was annoyed the first cruise to find out the tip process (x per day per person automatically), I must say now it is a kind of relief.. no need to think about it! no envelops to prepare ahead! Just add a bit more from time to time if you are willing to!

Service (waiters, HKeeping):

Lots to say, on a general basis HK is just great .. mostly well done but people especially smilling all cruise long (which is something keeping in mind that these guys have a hard work to do!).

Waitressing is a different business... it will completely depend on each individuals you will meet, but they always do an effort to smile at least! except maybe for the pool waiters who change of face as soon as they see you dont tip extra!! several time it happened .. only way to deal with it.. ignore it! you will be surprised to see that the smile/attitude goes often with the nationality of the staff.. I dont want to point but certain are much nicer than others! But every single one of them are perfectly dressed up!! I am always nicely impressed by NCL dress codes for staff.. must not be every day pleasant for these guys!! but from a guest point of view.. NICE!! (and I have worked in the Luxe Hotel industry years!!).

It is true that Front desk or Concierge are a bit useless as they dont have a lot of power of decision.. if you except something you will need to go for an officer directly.. do not waste your time with low rank staff.

On most of NCL ships there s a lot to do.. you can end up also to have a big extra on your departure bill.. do the maths and take what you need forget the extra you could avoid to buy! For some people the drinks is something not avoidable for some it will be the excursions..

my wife and I now have come to our senses re excursions.. we organise pretty much 60/70% of our days ashore by ourselves (nothing complicated to purchase a train ticket, take a cab or buy a museum ticket). we only book through NCL when the day is short timewise or the planning too complicated and budget not worth it.

We have gone several times with NCL in excursions and pretty much everytime quite happy about it.. well organised, good staff .. just really pricy!

So Google it first ahead and see if you can do it alone.. of course some countries are more difficult than others .. Europe is all easy (carefull in Sicily and Milan though).. Asian very easy as well.. South America.. careful for the country you go.. a few extra bucks is worth safety!!

Just another thing which has been said several times in these forums.. do not bother buying alcohol bottles ashore in the idea to drink aboard.. they will take them from you!! and you will loose time at the end of your cruise trying to take it back (of course they give it to you but the queue for it is so long!!).

Restaurants:

maybe you will have find out that I am not american, neither english speaking, the way I write, I am French (nobody's perfect :)) and my wife is Maltese. We are living in France and really caring about what we eat (not fassy but demanding when the place can be up to it).. overall food on NCL is quite ok.. over the counter is fine with lots of choice, Pool grill a bit simple but very ok. The only one we avoid now is the biggest dining room (different names but same result) without extra, not worth it at all.. service too long.. waiters bored or upset to be there.. food really average, sometimes bad! If you are happy to be placed with strangers that can be a plus .. if you dont like this what a nightmare!

Restaurants with an extra charge are not all good but most of them well above the average, worth spending a bit more.. my favourite are definitively Cagney's, Teppanyaki and the one where they serve mexican food (I dont remember the name of the plate .. kind of hanging meat lover nailed piece of wood.. delicious!!).

Do avoid the french restaurant!! it has French only the name.. expensive for nothing.. we did not expect too much and we were dissapointed twice!!

I would say that the asian ones are just good maybe not worth an extra cost!

extra charge cover restaurants is a real plus in the cruise.. wines are way overpriced for the quality you can get.. maybe not on the californian ones though (even if I am not the best expert)..

go more for cocktails before and after in bars.. lots of them quite good..

re activities, I would like to finish with the spa.. As you might have read already from other reviews, you always receive offers for the spa during the cruise.. of course best offers are on day where the ship is docked, as there is fewer people aboard.

spas are quite different from a ship to another I find.. but globally only worth if you take a special outside of business hours (quieter as well of course)otherwise you might find yourself being treated like a number lost in a social department queue line.

So far we have been on the Jade, the Gem and the Sun.. never been really disappointed after the cruise.. always some negative points there and there but overall the feeling is quite good! Trust me if I tell you that the quality price ratio is most of the time way poorer in other cruise companies (and I dont have stock options in NCL.. lol).

I will be glad to go for more details for whoever would want it.. hoping this will be helpful for some of you.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

Great review Thanks :)

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

hi

has anyone got any pictures of the epic cruise ship inside and out.

this is our first cruise and we go near the end of october we are looking forward to this holiday but i just wanted to know what the ship actualy looks like and if possible anymore experiences that people have had while cruising on this ship it would be a great help.

manythanks

Larne, United...
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5. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

Hi

Just returned from an Epic mediterranian cruise. Check in was pretty good considering that 4000-5000 people were trying to get on at the same time. However if you want to avoid queing (which I do) I noticed that people embarking closer to the sailing time have little problem. This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. The herd ( my word for the crowds of animals who form queues to book everything whether they are going or not) descend upon the "box office". Of course all one had to do was phone from your room - but it's about three days before you find this out - by that time all the worthwhile shows are already booked.

NCL have a wonderful way of making their money - it's called daylight robbery!!! Firstly you pay $12 per day "tipping". On top of that you pay 15% on any drinks you buy which fortunately doesn't include water. They charge extortionate amounts for organised trips. My wife and I like to exit the ship and wonder around at our leisure, but Livorno or Civitivechio (what my wife discribed as a car park) or Napoli ( which could best be described as an ancient Roman skip) were not exactly awe inspiring. If you want to go with the herd it usually involves at least an hor journey to the destination and of course an hour back. Palma I have to say was very enjoyable.

All day food - yes if it's pizza! If you don't pay the premium restaurants and just use the "free" ones then you have a choice of garbage at the Irish Bar (hot dogs, burgers etc.) and restaurants like The Manhatten and Taste restaurants which had almost identical menus. If you want to go to these 7.00pm is best time. If you leave it to 8.00pm or later the herd will just be getting out of the shows and you will have to wait for ages and to avoid queing they issue you with a voucher for "champagne" - well Cava which tastes awful by the way. If you are lucky enough to book a show then eat early and choose the late show. The best food was at the self service restaurant - The Garden something on the 15th deck. At least the plate will not be minimalist. I was looking foward to a good seafood selection - if you like crabsticks you are in heaven. Barring the Tappinyaki which was excellent I didn't see any decent seaffod dishes. There was always a fish of the day at the self service restaurant which was delicious but no shellfish.

If you don't want to leave the ship during the day what entertainment do you have? Learning to dance - ( not for me) or bingo (for the brain dead). You could also go to the gym and work off all those calories you didn't gain. If you like sun bathing and wet screaming kids then you could probobly get through the day OK.

The Blue Men were fantastic - well worth seeing. I'm told the circus thing was very good too but I couldn't verify that as the herd had already booked it out. The Blues Band were very good as was Tommy McPhee at the Shakers Bar.

The staff were very pleasant and the service was good but I would prefer to pay on a voluntary and individual basis.

So, in short, if you like baking in the sun for hours on end,playing bingo,learning to dance, queueing, being charged for tips to pay the staff instead of NCL paying them, listening to screaming kids at every corner, only getting to see the shows which the herd hadn't already booked up then this is the holiday for you.

We will definitely not be cruising again - give me terra firma any day.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

John F

Welcome to the Cruise Forum and thanks for your insight into your cruising adventures.

One thing you need to do before embarking on any cruise is research, research and more research.

It's a shame you found this forum too late otherwise some great posters here may have been able to advise you about some of the issues you've raised ... or pointed you to other forums where you would be able to find answers to your questions.

It's a shame you don't want to give cruising another go - there are smaller ships that you would probably enjoy more without the "herds".

ON, Canada
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7. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

John,

As I read your thread the same thought occurred to me as it did to Doug ... what a shame that you didn't do research prior to your cruise. Had you done that, you probably would have picked a different ship, a different time to sail in the Med, learned how to explore the ports on your own and which ports are better done with a private guide or by cruise excursion, and what is and isn't included on a cruise ship.

Our cruising experiences have been great ... and the Mediterranean ones have been the best ... but I'm sure that if I was as little prepared as you were, I would be pretty disillusioned too.

Larne, United...
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8. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

Hi again

DougoOz and SusanM2004.

I love it when people say you were ill prepared because you didn't read the reviews - sorry but I did. If you read the majority of reviews you would think this cruise was paradise. As with all holidays some people like them - some don't and you just have to try them. One review I read, for instance, said that the staterooms with balcony were ample size - another said they were miniscule. Personally I agree with the latter - I tried to sleep with one third of my legs hanging out of the bed. The beds in these rooms are rounded at the end - why ???? The nickel and dime syndrome referred to by lvl620 is the NCL attitude that this is a captive audience where as little as possible is included in your original payment. Nearly everything carries a charge. Internet access for instance costs $0.75 per minute although there are packages for longer periods which reduces to a mere $0.55 per minute - I was not aware of this. You only have to look at this thread to see that some people actually enjoyed their cruise - good for them - perhaps all the things which annoy me don't annoy them. Perhaps like some people who have maintained that once you go on a cruise you would return again and again and talked the cruise holiday up because they had spent a fortune but didn't really get value for money and were embarrassed to admit it.

Now I don't gloss over the truth and if anyone asks me if I enjoyed my holiday I tell it like it is.

Criticism is only of use if the company you are directing it towards takes notice and the only way that will happen is if numbers diminish. As long as the herd turns up you will still get the same deal the next time. The ship was 25 people short of capacity - obviously almost 5000 people. It is highly likely that a fair percentage did read the reviews which on the whole were positive. You see - I do prefer to look on the bright side and there certainly were aspects of the cruise which I enjoyed - all I am pointing out is the load of negatives that may or may not influence the choice of others.

JohnF

ON, Canada
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9. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

John,

Reading reviews isn't enough research to have a successful cruise vacation ... and in my post, I didn't talk about reviews, but the lack of research. There is no end of information on line to help you prepare for a vacation. The cruise line's website is a good source of info. Learning about the ports and what your options are in each one goes a long ways towards an interesting, enjoyable day rather than getting no further than a grim first impression.

Glad to hear that there were some positives though.

Susan

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10. Re: review norwegian epic cruise

John

Re : "Nearly everything carries a charge. Internet access for instance costs $0.75 per minute although there are packages for longer periods which reduces to a mere $0.55 per minute - I was not aware of this."

Often information about extra charges such as internet charges that you have mentioned at post 8, are not necessarily mentioned in cruise reviews where you say you did your research. And besides, many people use the internet on board ships, but many more do not and I wouldn't be surprised if people don't mention it in a review - I don't think I ever have.

The research I had in mind was on for example, this forum where you read through the threads and others experiences or you post specific questions.

TBH, once you have paid in full for your passage fare, and when you embark, cruise lines are looking to extract more money from you .. probably the reason why cruises (particularly large vesels) are cashless ... you hand over your cruise card for drinks and additional snacks, photos, speciality restaurants and the boutiques on board and before you know, it you've spent your kid's inheritance !!!

Questions about cabin layout / suitability for specific needs are frequently answered on forums such as this.

Another good place to research, if you are not already aware of it, and a site that many regulars on this thread refer to is Cruise Critic - a "sister" site to Tripadvisor - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/index.php

I have to say that having 5,000 others on board doesn't sound like my idea of fun ... but as I said previously, there are plenty of other ships around that offer speciality cruises or cruises with far fewer passengers.

Just ask and we'll do our best to help.

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