NCL Epic 3/31 Western - We're Done Here

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#21
Ex Maui HI, now The Villages, FL and MI
1,665 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
rbt001;
As I stated at the end of my post, YMMV. The objective was to write a concise but brief review as I saw it, not a novella. I'm a seasoned international traveller and my opinions are mine alone. I do know how to address improperly cooked food with management so no need for your lecture. Glad you're happy with the same limited menu in the Haven every night on your cruise. I prefer variety. Have a nice day.
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#22
Ex Maui HI, now The Villages, FL and MI
1,665 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by AF-1
Thank you for review. I totally understand not everything is perfect; but at least you had a good time with family
Thanks. We did this for the kids and they had a ball.
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#23
SW OHIO
2,423 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I need to book the HAVEN on Epic. Epic was my first foray with Norwegian since the cruise I took with them back on the SS Norway. We stayed in a balcony cabin. I've stayed in the HAVEN on the "Away" ships. But, given the Epic was the launch ship for innovative ideas like the HAVEN, I've heard their HAVEN and cabins are the best of the bunch.

This is just a reminder to start looking at EPIC + HAVEN cruises.
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NCL-Platinum
-Getaway-Western Caribbean-Haven Penthouse Suite-September 9, 2018 (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2680219)
GEM-Bahamas-Aft Suite-April/May 2018 (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2632274)
-Getaway Haven Balcony Penthouse-July 3, 2016
-Breakaway Haven-June 2014(http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2064384)
-Breakaway Solo Cabin-June 2013 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...ight=breakaway)
-Epic-April 2011 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1411474)
-NCL SS Norway (a week before it exploded)


MSC-Black Card
-Meraviglia Yacht Club-Mediterranean-November/December 2017
-Divina Yacht Club-October 2016. (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2416041)


RCCL-Platinum
-Harmony of the Seas-July 2017
-Anthem of the Seas-December 12, 2015
-Allure of the Seas-May 2012 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1643248)
-Liberty of the Seas-June 2007
-Celebrity Solstice-January 2012 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...light=solstice)


CCL-Gold
-Breeze-August 2013 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1908076)
-Carnival Freedom-December 2010
-Carnival Conquest-June 2005


HAL Veendam
#24
Arkansas
32,691 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by Aloha 1
So second NCL cruise but 33rd overall. Stayed in Haven both times ( Escape and Epic). Here's my take on the Good, Bad, and Ugly:

The Good:
Epic's Haven physically is superior to that of Escape. Well appointed and the addition of Posh is a plus. My Grandkids loved having the separate pool as you couldn't get near the main one.
Haven breakfasts were brilliant. All the choice you could want and REAL eggs, not the liquid stuff in the buffet. Haven lunch and dinner menus are always the same so that limits the number of times you may want to eat in the Epic Club but the food was generally better than any other dining venue on board. Epic's Concierge was a big asset. Guided us to tenders, off ship at ports, and best of all, expedited disembarkation. Captain and staff were friendly and efficient. Kids enjoyed the Rock Wall and Toilet Bowl of Death! I enjoyed the Martini Bar.

The Bad:
The Premium unlimited wifi is a joke. Experienced a lot of down time and the speed was no better than normal cruddy ship wifi. I would not waste my $$ again. It took 3 days for Bowen, the Concierge to get our free dinner at Le Bistro confirmed (AMEX benefit) despite having it posted on cruise record. He ended up having to call Miami to get it sorted. Venues outside Haven were a scrum. As others have noted, the lack of midship elevators definitely slowed down using the forward and aft ones. Dinner in Le Bistro was very good and worth going although the Dover Sole was a little overcooked. Cagney's also very good. Both times our waiter announced that we could only get 1 app and 1 entree. Both times I replied , "I know you have to say that but we will order extra apps". No problem and no charge. On Escape, there was fruited ice water and M&M's available poolside every day. On Epic, they apparently abandoned ship.

The Ugly:
I expected La Cucina, being a specialty restaurant, to be much better than it was. Wife and I had the Branzino and it was so overcooked it was inedible. Pasta was as far from al dente as you could get. Avoid the free Chinese venue, Shanghai, at all costs. Egg roll starters came out burnt -seriously, burned and hard as a rock. I would be embarrassed to serve such. Fried Rice was OK but the Chow Fun was a gloppy congealed mess that did not use Chow Fun noodles. Best thing about it was the Azuki Bean and Chestnut pastries with Green Tea ice cream. No lobster anywhere, not even for an upcharge?? And why, in this day and age, does NCL still allow smoking in the open air Casino? We sat down to lunch at Taste one afternoon and had to leave due to the overpowering smell of cigarette smoke. I'm a former smoker, and if someone wants to prematurely end their life, that's their business. Just don't try to take me with you.

So, overall, ship was well appointed, food needs some serious work, and Haven is the only way I would ever sail NCL but they need to step it up on their menus and provide different ones during the cruise as Princess and Celebrity now do. There are many other choices out there with better food such as Celebrity, Princess, and now MSC. As always, YMMV.
well, well, well: it sounds like NCL isn't the line for you.That is why there are so many choices in cruise lines. Hope you enjoy your other lines better. as you know food as well as most other things are subjective: many will probably disagree with you: me for one. I don't like the idea of the same menu in the VIP dining room each day: I agree with you there. And I agree the elevator experience isn't a fun one.

As for the smoking, ok, others have complained about the smoking in the casino. I am an X smoker, can't stand stale smoke but the casino on the Epic really didn't bother me or my husband much at all.

Dining rooms; I have rarely had a problem with the food on NCL, whether specialty or otherwise. We much prefer it NCL food over Princess. That was of our big complaints about Princess except they do offer more seafood. As for NCL and Lobsters, it has been ages since they have served it. I don't know about Princess as we haven't sailed her in about 4 years.I do know the quality of the Lobster served on any ship doesn't make it worth being concerned that it is gone.

As for La Cucina no it isn't that great, but it is certainly not awful. The same with the Asian restaurant; it is not great but it is part of the free dining experience. I would be upset if there was a charge, free, it is a nice option to the MDRs. I would think when food is not to your liking you would simply tell the wait staff you either want it corrected if it can be or ask for something else, explaining you don't like whatever it is. Just so you are polite about it and not demanding. attitude is everything.













As for your comments about MSC and their food, I will let that go for another time, but again, remember food is very subjective.
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#25
Hollywood, FL
587 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Aloha 1
rbt001;
As I stated at the end of my post, YMMV. The objective was to write a concise but brief review as I saw it, not a novella. I'm a seasoned international traveller and my opinions are mine alone. I do know how to address improperly cooked food with management so no need for your lecture. Glad you're happy with the same limited menu in the Haven every night on your cruise. I prefer variety. Have a nice day.
Aloha 1, it never was my intention to "lecture" you-- especially since you are a "seasoned international traveller [sic]"!

You are, however, new to NCL, and it appears that you may have been misinformed regarding the premium internet offering. I've sailed on other lines that explicitly state that the ship's internet is slower than what passengers are accustomed to at home. I do not recall NCL making this warning-- and maybe they should. When I asked to upgrade my "free minutes" on NCL to the premium service, I was discouraged by a staff member who stated that premium service is no faster than the unlimited service. The difference simply relates to streaming services such as Netflix and Pandora being available with premium service while those sites are blocked from use with the unlimited non-premium service.

Aloha 1, I regularly read reviews both good and bad on these forums, yet very rarely post responses. However, on occasion I will read a review that strikes me as particularly slanted with a negative bias and I feel inclined to post.

Take for example a post on another line's forum that started with

"From the moment we stepped on the gangway the staff was unfriendly and unhelpful..."

No joke: the reviewer posted a litany of negative experiences that persisted the entire cruise! Come on: when was the last time that anyone saw anything but a smiling, welcoming face as their first impression when embarking on a cruise!

And no, Aloha 1, I am not implying your review was that negative, as you did state one --or was it two-- nice things... yes... something about the wallpaper ... and the eggs being real.

However, after I read your review twice, I saw vivid images in my mind of other CC members --who otherwise were excited about their upcoming NCL cruise-- reading your review and reaching for another Xanax or Zoloft as they began calculating the cancellation penalties if they were to back out now.

For those readers, I prepared my breakdown response to perhaps provide a different perspective. Yes, my approach is different.

I mean it's too easy to respond to...



"I ate in the specialty restaurant. The food was bad and the service was poor."

with..

"I eat there all the time, and the food is good and service great!"

I like to be a little more "thorough" in my replies.

To make my point we need look no further than your recent comment:

Glad you're happy with the same limited menu in the Haven every night on your cruise. I prefer variety.

So let me break it down in a a reply:

Now when I say I could eat every meal in The Haven Restaurant it's because between the static lunch and dinner menus, there are:

9 appetizers including:
  • shrimp
  • ahi tuna
  • beef tartar
  • pork belly
  • short ribs
  • risotto
  • seafood plate
  • sliced meat & cheese plate
4 soups including a daily rotating chilled soup.

4 entree portioned salads

3 side salads featuring different greens including: butter lettuce, romaine, and arugula

Entrees include:
  • sea bass
  • salmon
  • shrimp
  • scallops
  • clams
  • rack of lamb
  • duck
  • chicken
  • pork
  • veal
  • filet mignon
  • prime rib
  • cheese tart
  • mushroom ravioli
Also available were burgers and sandwiches.

In fact, when I asked if I could order sliced avocado and onion with olive oil as a salad, the response was: "Sure, if they have the ingredients, they will make it."

So... I really didn't find the menu to be limited or lacking variety.

And perhaps a few other readers may be so inclined to side with "variety" when they think of The Haven Restaurant-- and maybe even limitless.

Maybe it's just those few that also feel and stated, as did I, that "NCL just might not be the line for you."

Happy sailing!
#26
487 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Thanks for the report, agree different menus by day would be a nice thing in the Haven.
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#27
Washington
3,390 Posts
Joined May 2009
Thanks for sharing your trip report.
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#28
Ex Maui HI, now The Villages, FL and MI
1,665 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
rbt001;
Appreciate the response. Apparently I'm not being clear enough in my post. Again, the sole purpose was to post the OPINION of a veteran cruiser with 2 NCL cruises completed. IMHO, EPIC was well below Escape in terms of food and food quality. based on our Escape cruise we know NCL can do better. I wholly agree with Frank Del Rio's comment after taking over the helm of NCL that "people don't cruise for crappy food". It is quite possible that others dining on the same ship at a different time had a different experience than us but I reported what I saw. We're back to the NCL sister line, Oceania, this summer then trying MSC in Yacht Club. I will add my comparison of Haven and YC after that.
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#29
Hollywood, FL
587 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Aloha 1
rbt001;
Appreciate the response. Apparently I'm not being clear enough in my post. Again, the sole purpose was to post the OPINION of a veteran cruiser with 2 NCL cruises completed. IMHO, EPIC was well below Escape in terms of food and food quality. based on our Escape cruise we know NCL can do better. I wholly agree with Frank Del Rio's comment after taking over the helm of NCL that "people don't cruise for crappy food". It is quite possible that others dining on the same ship at a different time had a different experience than us but I reported what I saw. We're back to the NCL sister line, Oceania, this summer then trying MSC in Yacht Club. I will add my comparison of Haven and YC after that.
I will look forward to the Haven & Yacht Club comparison. Thank you.
#30
Arkansas
32,691 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by Aloha 1
rbt001;
Appreciate the response. Apparently I'm not being clear enough in my post. Again, the sole purpose was to post the OPINION of a veteran cruiser with 2 NCL cruises completed. IMHO, EPIC was well below Escape in terms of food and food quality. based on our Escape cruise we know NCL can do better. I wholly agree with Frank Del Rio's comment after taking over the helm of NCL that "people don't cruise for crappy food". It is quite possible that others dining on the same ship at a different time had a different experience than us but I reported what I saw. We're back to the NCL sister line, Oceania, this summer then trying MSC in Yacht Club. I will add my comparison of Haven and YC after that.
Of course Oceania is going to have superior food and probably service. You are paying twice the amount. To even try to compare a mass marketed line with a luxury line is like comparing Golden Corral to Ruth Cs or Red Lobster to a to seafood restaurant in New England. You do like to let everyone know you are a veteran cruiser and yet, are basing your opinion of only 2 cruises on NCL. After 40 plus cruises I try not to compare unless I am comparing one line with a comparable line; example RCI to NCL or Celebrity to HAL. I hope you continue to cruise and find the line that works for you. To be truthful, I doubt you will fine it on MSC.
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#31
Ex Maui HI, now The Villages, FL and MI
1,665 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by newmexicoNita
Of course Oceania is going to have superior food and probably service. You are paying twice the amount. To even try to compare a mass marketed line with a luxury line is like comparing Golden Corral to Ruth Cs or Red Lobster to a to seafood restaurant in New England. You do like to let everyone know you are a veteran cruiser and yet, are basing your opinion of only 2 cruises on NCL. After 40 plus cruises I try not to compare unless I am comparing one line with a comparable line; example RCI to NCL or Celebrity to HAL. I hope you continue to cruise and find the line that works for you. To be truthful, I doubt you will fine it on MSC.
Frankly, the price of a 2 bedroom Haven H4 is comparable to the cost of traveling on Oceania in a Penthouse Cat 3. Certainly nowhere near twice the price. And yes, I'm a veteran cruiser. So what? I state that so CC'ers know I'm not a newbie and that I do have experience in travel. And of course I'll continue to cruise AND share my opinions. Again, as I have said ad infinitum, YMMV.
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#32
Citrus Heights, CA United States
4,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by Aloha 1
Frankly, the price of a 2 bedroom Haven H4 is comparable to the cost of traveling on Oceania in a Penthouse Cat 3. Certainly nowhere near twice the price. And yes, I'm a veteran cruiser. So what? I state that so CC'ers know I'm not a newbie and that I do have experience in travel. And of course, I'll continue to cruise AND share my opinions. Again, as I have said ad infinitum, YMMV.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I seriously do not think newbies will run from NCL based on your personal opinion or those of us who may agree or disagree with your opinions will decide not to sail on NCL. Sometimes I think when someone voices an opinion it is believed you are casting aspersions on someone personally and not sharing your thoughts on your experience. After all, everyone has a right to an opinion.

My husband and I love Posh and this time on the Epic Med Cruise we almost had it to ourselves! Though we enjoyed Le Bistro we did not fall in love with how Cagney's fit into what we wanted for dining. (thankfully both Platinum dinners) Hence, we ate in the Haven Restaurant just about every meal and loved it. (also the same on ships without a restaurant for Suite/Haven guests) I know repetitious but I was happy not to plan and fix meals for my DH and myself.

I had a bad experience with NCL about the cancellation of our cruise and their responses and I was flamed for being upset about the way I felt it was handled. I decided not to respond to the posters because let's face it there will always be those who agree and disagree. I already had a cruise booked with NCL so of course, I will be enjoying that. Then my DD asked if I would celebrate her birthday on a cruise - like I would say no and her choice was NCL. So back on NCL and yes, I still have the "Miss Bitter table for one" in my mind. Don't care what others think but my family comes first and I will go on NCL again.

MSC - The DH and I have booked YC and we are looking forward to the cruise along with our friends. Past reviews are a mixed bag but now more positive than negative. I appreciated both good and bad.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.
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NCL Pride of America ~ Hawaiian Islands 6/18
NCL Canceled Our Pearl October 1, 2018, Cruise!
NCL Epic ~ Europe, Mediterranean 7/17
Carnival Inspiration ~ Mexico 7/16
NCL Jade ~ Western Caribbean 4/16
Carnival Inspiration ~ Mexico 7/15
NCL Star ~ Mexico 3/15
Carnival Imagination ~ Mexico 7/14
NCL Pearl ~ Alaska 5/13
NCL Epic ~ Western Caribbean 4/11
NCL Majesty ~ Bermuda 5/09
Carnival Paradise ~ Mexico 5/08
RCC Monarch of the Seas ~ 7/07
Coral Princess ~ Panama Canal 4/06
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Carnival Paradise ~ Mexico 7/05
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NCL Wind ~ Hawaii 4/03
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#33
Ex Maui HI, now The Villages, FL and MI
1,665 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by Linda the Book Lover
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I seriously do not think newbies will run from NCL based on your personal opinion or those of us who may agree or disagree with your opinions will decide not to sail on NCL. Sometimes I think when someone voices an opinion it is believed you are casting aspersions on someone personally and not sharing your thoughts on your experience. After all, everyone has a right to an opinion.

My husband and I love Posh and this time on the Epic Med Cruise we almost had it to ourselves! Though we enjoyed Le Bistro we did not fall in love with how Cagney's fit into what we wanted for dining. (thankfully both Platinum dinners) Hence, we ate in the Haven Restaurant just about every meal and loved it. (also the same on ships without a restaurant for Suite/Haven guests) I know repetitious but I was happy not to plan and fix meals for my DH and myself.

I had a bad experience with NCL about the cancellation of our cruise and their responses and I was flamed for being upset about the way I felt it was handled. I decided not to respond to the posters because let's face it there will always be those who agree and disagree. I already had a cruise booked with NCL so of course, I will be enjoying that. Then my DD asked if I would celebrate her birthday on a cruise - like I would say no and her choice was NCL. So back on NCL and yes, I still have the "Miss Bitter table for one" in my mind. Don't care what others think but my family comes first and I will go on NCL again.

MSC - The DH and I have booked YC and we are looking forward to the cruise along with our friends. Past reviews are a mixed bag but now more positive than negative. I appreciated both good and bad.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.
And thank You for your nice response! Agree about Posh. It was very relaxing to come back to after a port day. Also agree about the MSC reviews and hopefully they'll get even better before we sail next March!
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#34
Twin Cities, MN
176 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
Originally posted by Carnac767
We’re in the Haven now on Epic’s TA. So far it’s been a great cruise. Bowen’s our concierge and has been terrific. Premium wifi has worked continuously across the Atlantic. Good food and great service in the Haven Restaurant. Cagney’s and Le Bistro have been excellent, as well as Teppanyaki. La Cucina: great service but awful pasta. Their steak is excellent, however.


BOWEN!!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
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CRUISED IT...LOVED IT!!

NCL Sky - March 28, 2016 - Inside Cabin - 10134
NCL Getaway - March 5, 2017 - H5 Haven - 15120
NCL Escape - September 30, 2017 - BF Balcony - 11874
NCL Epic - March, 24, 2018 - H6 Haven Aft Balcony - 12317