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No so Epic Cruise...

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 So sorry to hear of the problems you had on the Epic! We were on her for 22 days in Apr 2018 and loved her! We enjoyed it so much that we have 4 more NCL cruises booked over the next 14 months. 

 

One thing that impressed me with the Epic was the accessibility of the senior staff. Nelson was the Hotel Director and I would have spoken to him about any issues. We did that on 2 occasions and got the problems fixed and a deluxe plate of chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room with a note of apology. We had only been on 1 other NCL cruise before that; thus, we had no status, but it didn't mater.

 

John 

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1 hour ago, JennyB1977 said:

That is sort of my point. The system should NOT ALLOW anyone to double book. It should be impossible. I can't refill a prescription until X amount of days, I can't order two drinks on a certain cruise line without waiting 15 minutes, I'm sure they can figure this out....

 

They can detect additional bookings when they swipe your card at the first restaurant. One evening I went with others in a solos' group to the MDR on Gem even though I had a later reservation at Cagney's. We had formed the habit of going to the MDR together, where those with specialty dinner reservations later would order just a drink and/or an appetizer. The hostess asked if she should cancel my Cagney's reservation; when I explained that I was keeping my friends company and not ordering the full meal, it was fine.

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41 minutes ago, JWGrayson said:

 So sorry to hear of the problems you had on the Epic! We were on her for 22 days in Apr 2018 and loved her! We enjoyed it so much that we have 4 more NCL cruises booked over the next 14 months. 

 

One thing that impressed me with the Epic was the accessibility of the senior staff. Nelson was the Hotel Director and I would have spoken to him about any issues. We did that on 2 occasions and got the problems fixed and a deluxe plate of chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room with a note of apology. We had only been on 1 other NCL cruise before that; thus, we had no status, but it didn't mater.

 

John 

 

I was on the second leg of John's B2B and had pretty much the same experience. I had no reason to talk with the hotel director but I did speak with a dining manager about mixed-up and slow service. While the slowness was caused partly by the interaction of orders at our table with NCL's general policy on dining service, the dining steward also served wine to people who hadn't ordered and not to those who did, and interchanged both appetizer and main-course orders. He comped my wine for the evening and offered chocolate-dipped strawberries, which I declined.

 

He also encouraged me to ask for him the next time I was on the Epic, which will be in February. If he's still there, I will. I had no other problems on the Epic and I hope that whatever contributed to the problems described in the first post of this thread have been resolved by then.

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We are getting ready to sail on the Epic in a couple of weeks.  It will be our 3rd time (once in the Haven).  Obviously we like the ship or we wouldn't be sailing again.  We have done nearly 40 cruises.  Here are my thoughts:  If you have problems with slow dining, get a table for two; it's ALWAYS faster.  We have had all kinds of cabin stewards.  On one cruise, we never saw them.  Having said that, I have thick hair and I like to have an extra bath towel.  I bring brightly colored post it notes and put my requests where they will be noticed.  It works every time (even with the "bad" ones).  We have been on ships where repairs are being made.   It's unpleasant to say the least, but it's life.  It's a huge ship...find another area to hang out or walk through.  I still pinch myself every time I climb on a ship.  It's such a treat that most people will never get to experience.  Find a way to enjoy the trip...beer/wine glass half full.  If it's really bad, someone on that ship will be willing to have a nice chat with you if you don't begin by screaming.  They will try to make it right.  If not, write a letter, they truly want to know what is going on with their ships.  It takes a while, but they try to make things right.  I sincerely hope you are able to have the best possible experience on your next cruise; unpack once and see/sea the world.

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I was on the recent TA on the Epic and it did take a bit of time to get used to such a large ship-

the noise level in the Atrium bothered me at first and found that if I dragged myself out of bed early, I could enjoy the comings and goings there, without a large group  (and someone on the microphone with a high pitched voice saying "That's Riiiiight !! This is how you pronounce...…" during one of the language talks.)

 

One day, I was walking by O'Sheehan's and could hear someone speaking down below in the Atrium- I looked down and it was packed- people in O'Sheehan's were sitting around the periphery and listening to the presentation (Boris on Art History) and found myself listening and really appreciated the extra space upstairs-

As I looked around, I realized  "This works !", whether it was a presentation from Barbara on the Cruise Next program, one of the numerous trivia games, culinary demo, dance classes- they were all very well attended. 

Additional events during the day were always packed- Robert Hulse on the crossing the Atlantic in the Manhattan MDR,  Epic Beatle (standing room only every time), port presentations by Jake and spending quality time in the library. (yup, that's me on vacation !)

 

Food is subjective and I always found something in the Garden Café for lunch, though I have to say, I gravitated to the pasta and crepe stations, because it was consistently good. Though, on the last 2 days of the cruise, the buffet staff really stepped up and the food was awesome- I wondered if somehow, new staff came on in St Thomas because it was SO much better, IMO.

Regarding the MDR, I did find that if I arrived within the last half hour before closing, whether it was lunch or dinner, the service was SO much faster- you see, it can work !!

 

I"m sorry the op had difficulty with his room regarding separating the beds, lack of towels, and not having your room made up- I believe that each cruise line need to teach the staff- "you only get  one chance to make a good first impression"

My room attendant did- got ice every day, though I did come back to my cabin a few nights and found the room attendant still working and let him know that I could turn down my own cabin- worked for me

 

I would certainly cruise NCL again- the ship, to me, is the destination and there's always things that don't work and others that do !

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Here’s my take on the Epic.  Passengers in the Haven suites without question love the Epic.  The rest of us are split between love it or hate it.  I am in the hate it category but even so I have booked another cruise on her for January 2020.  I booked this cruise because it is port intensive and we haven’t been to most of the ports of call.  Along with that it was a Take All 5 promotion, a Distinctive Voyages cruise, and a one dollar deposit promotion.

 

When we completed our previous Epic cruise I posted a trip report with pictures.  You can click on the link in my signature if you want to read it.

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I feel like this is a trend every year just after the Epic makes the Transatlantic. We've been on her twice, neither time in the Haven and had an amazing time. Once on the itinerary you had. Each cruise is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

 

One important tip for all to remember is to go to customer service right after your first issue when they can still do something about it. So many people write on here about getting your dinner reservations right when it opens. I know that's not freestyle, but if you get the dining package, book your dinners when it opens up and not when you get on the ship if you want to get in a certain place for dinner.

 

We're going on the Breakaway in December and are considering the Epic again (or the Encore -- can't decide!) for the following December so definitely interested in sailing her again. 

 

Hope you'll sail the Epic again!

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16 hours ago, Kfamilycruise said:

are considering the Epic again (or the Encore -- can't decide!) 

 

We are leaning towards the Encore, mostly for the "Virgin Cruise" aspect of it, but we have lots of friends who are taking the Epic back to the New World next fall, and we wouldn't mind joining that cruise, either. The Epic is an awesome ship, and the itinerary that they are taking next year is very tempting.

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OP- thank you for your well-balanced review.  Your issues with lack of service to your cabin and slow service in the dining areas are certainly justified and not at all in the category of "whining" or "griping".  I can also understand your concern about not contacting the hotel manager given that the room steward has access to your room & personal items.  The tipping point for me also would have been the notice that my room wasn't going to be made up on the last night so he could pack to get off the ship.  That definitely would have resulted in a call to the hotel manager!

 

The room layouts on Epic keep me from considering a cruise on her (unless I'm going Haven), but your review is helpful to others who might be considering Epic.  Service is obviously an issue, given that you aren't the only one who has had that experience.  Yes, everyone has different expectations as far as levels of service, but if they can't get the basics right (separating beds, replacing towels, leaving dailies) that's a significant problem.

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On 11/27/2018 at 9:24 AM, JamieLogical said:

 

The poster you quoted was answering another poster's question about whether this sort of thing was typical of NCL in general, not specific to the Epic. I do agree we have gotten petty side-tracked with the ice discussion! The beds, towels, and missing dailies/debarkation instructions seem like a much bigger deal to me.

 

Oh, logical is wonderful! 💃🏼

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My experience with the Epic over the Summer was ok.  It was probably a different crew, and I didn't see the same issues of understaffing and slowness of service.  I wasn't a huge fan of the ship itself though - did not like the layout.  We found the food in the MDR and specialty restaurants to be pretty good (not as good as a Celebrity, but it was fine).  We never did the buffet, so really can't comment on that.  The entertainment was outstanding - it was the best of any ship I've been on (Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, and Royal).  Just book your dining and entertainment pre-boarding (or immediately when on board if you can't book prior) and you will save a lot of headache.

 

We choose our cruises based on 1) itinerary, 2) dates, 3) cost in that order.  The specific ship (or class of ship) really doesn't matter to us.  If the itinerary was right, we would go on the Epic again, but it certainly isn't one of our favorite ships. 

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On ‎11‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 3:40 PM, cruisencrazy said:

 Here are my thoughts:  If you have problems with slow dining, get a table for two; it's ALWAYS faster

well, that would be a problem, since there are the 4 of us, including a 7 yo kid.

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3 hours ago, momofmab said:

OP- thank you for your well-balanced review.  Your issues with lack of service to your cabin and slow service in the dining areas are certainly justified and not at all in the category of "whining" or "griping".  I can also understand your concern about not contacting the hotel manager given that the room steward has access to your room & personal items.  The tipping point for me also would have been the notice that my room wasn't going to be made up on the last night so he could pack to get off the ship.  That definitely would have resulted in a call to the hotel manager!

 

The room layouts on Epic keep me from considering a cruise on her (unless I'm going Haven), but your review is helpful to others who might be considering Epic.  Service is obviously an issue, given that you aren't the only one who has had that experience.  Yes, everyone has different expectations as far as levels of service, but if they can't get the basics right (separating beds, replacing towels, leaving dailies) that's a significant problem.

thanks for the reply.  The room layout made it a bit cramped to walk around, but there was a ton of storage. We cruised Epic in 2013 so we knew what the room was like and that really wasnt an issue for us.  Now, i will say, our kids room where we had the beds separated was somewhat of an issue for them given the space between the beds was maybe a couple inches with the cured shape of that area where on RCL, they were able to put a nightstand between the beds which gave them more 'apart' space.  But if your not separating the beds, its a non issue.

If i was to said Epic again, which we  wont, the room layout wouldn't be a deterrent for us.

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47 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

well, that would be a problem, since there are the 4 of us, including a 7 yo kid.

Still shouldn't be a problem.  You all arrive and order at the same time....  Problems with big table is you wait to fill up, then everyone says hello and eventually everyone has read the menu....it all takes time.  The server isn't standing around waiting for this to happen...they go where people are ready....  Just try to enjoy the time and talk to your children

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5 minutes ago, cruisencrazy said:

Still shouldn't be a problem.  You all arrive and order at the same time....  Problems with big table is you wait to fill up, then everyone says hello and eventually everyone has read the menu....it all takes time.  The server isn't standing around waiting for this to happen...they go where people are ready....  Just try to enjoy the time and talk to your children

We had a table for 4 for the 4 of us. We didn't have to wait for the table to fill up or for anyone to say hello. I read the menu and ordered for my DS and mom. The service was 2.5+ hours on Jade, with long breaks between every darn food item brought to us and between taking orders.

 

Regal Princess is a much bigger ship (than Jade), and there were 7 of us at the table, yet the service was no longer than 1.5 hours and the food was a LOT better. And sometimes the service was less than 1.5 hours, since we showed up at 6:45 pm, ate multiple appetizers and main courses, polished off our multiple desserts and still made it to the 8 pm show. That's how it's done right.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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39 minutes ago, cruisencrazy said:

Still shouldn't be a problem.  You all arrive and order at the same time....  Problems with big table is you wait to fill up, then everyone says hello and eventually everyone has read the menu....it all takes time.  The server isn't standing around waiting for this to happen...they go where people are ready....  Just try to enjoy the time and talk to your children

 

34 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

We had a table for 4 for the 4 of us. We didn't have to wait for the table to fill up or for anyone to say hello. I read the menu and ordered for my DS and mom. The service was 2.5+ hours on Jade, with long breaks between every darn food item brought to us and between taking orders.

 

Regal Princess is a much bigger ship (than Jade), and there were 7 of us at the table, yet the service was no longer than 1.5 hours and the food was a LOT better. And sometimes the service was less than 1.5 hours, since we showed up at 6:45 pm, ate multiple appetizers and main courses, polished off our multiple desserts and still made it to the 8 pm show. That's how it's done right.

NCL is freestyle dining which means you don't share a table with others unless you ask[and often no one else will join you anyway]

 

I agree service is main dining rooms can take too long for us

it helps if you stress at time of sitting down you want to be out to catch a show at a particular time

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4 hours ago, 20165 said:

thanks for the reply.  The room layout made it a bit cramped to walk around, but there was a ton of storage. We cruised Epic in 2013 so we knew what the room was like and that really wasnt an issue for us.  Now, i will say, our kids room where we had the beds separated was somewhat of an issue for them given the space between the beds was maybe a couple inches with the cured shape of that area where on RCL, they were able to put a nightstand between the beds which gave them more 'apart' space.  But if your not separating the beds, its a non issue.

If i was to said Epic again, which we  wont, the room layout wouldn't be a deterrent for us.

It's more the odd bathroom layout than anything else.

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22 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

well, that would be a problem, since there are the 4 of us, including a 7 yo kid.

It sometimes helps if you let them know, as soon as you are seated or you meet your server that you are in a hurry. At least it is worth a try. 

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21 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

We had a table for 4 for the 4 of us. We didn't have to wait for the table to fill up or for anyone to say hello. I read the menu and ordered for my DS and mom. The service was 2.5+ hours on Jade, with long breaks between every darn food item brought to us and between taking orders.

 

Regal Princess is a much bigger ship (than Jade), and there were 7 of us at the table, yet the service was no longer than 1.5 hours and the food was a LOT better. And sometimes the service was less than 1.5 hours, since we showed up at 6:45 pm, ate multiple appetizers and main courses, polished off our multiple desserts and still made it to the 8 pm show. That's how it's done right.

Glad you had that experience with Princess, but that is a topic for a different time. We didn't have particularly good food on any or our 3 Princess cruises and we did have slow service from time to time, not always. 

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We are Platinum Plus on NCL, never have nor wanted to sail on the Epic.  Most of the complaints here about service mean nothing to us since we avoid the MDR and do not drink alcohol.  We have enjoyed the Spirit, Gem, Sun, POA, and Breakaway.  Scheduled for Jewel out of Singapore in March.  We found that RCI did the big ships better than NCL, we liked our Anthem cruises more than on the Breakaway.  We intend to Cruise RCI Ovation in the future and would consider any NCL cruise with the right ship, itinerary and price.

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Reading this thread is making me seriously question my Epic TA in April. I've always read very mixed reviews about this ship but lately there's not a whole lot of positive. 

 

Any recent positive experiences? We got the 15 night TA for dirt cheap, $1800 total for 2 people in an interior, inclusive of drink package/gratuities and DSC. At that price point, my bar is set lower than it's ever been, but I don't particularly want to be miserable...

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I was on the Epic in February and have no complaints.  The waiting in the MDR might have a lot to do with the time as well.  We always ate early so it wasn't ever a problem.  We also sailed on the Epic in 2012 which was our first cruise on a line different from Carnival.  I had sailed on the Liberty of the Seas twice after that and the Epic was my favorite out of all of them.  2018 wasn't as good as 2012 though, I think it was because in 2012 they had much better entertainment including the Blue Man Group.  Different people have different opinions but I will exclusively sail with NCL until other lines start offering perks like the UBP for free.

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On ‎11‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 6:53 AM, BarnCat1 said:

 

I too am very nervous to read such negative reviews of this ship which we have booked for our next cruise vacation 

She looks magnificent!  Please post your review when you get back in March! 

We were on the ship for the next cruise after the OP, for 11 nights.   We had a fantastic experience.  Great staff, friendly and attentive service. 

 

The weird bathroom set up didn't bother us one bit.  (although i did bring a Bluetooth speaker so i could mask any potty noises during quiet hours.  ha!)  I read some about lack of elevators but we had no issues from deck 11.  it was a bit of a challenge when the main theatre let out but that's completely to be expected. 

 

Admittedly i don't do the MDR much, anymore.  i prefer the specialty dining restaurants or the buffet...and the Epic more than met our expectations. 

 

IF i had to state my one beef it would be being shoehorned into a booth for 6 at the Cirque show. But i still had fun! 

 

 

 

 

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I am not a fan of the Epic either. I've been on it twice, but the second time I really only went for the people I knew and that it was the best of all NCL options in southern Europe. I'm very much a ship-focused cruiser, and there's just not enough to do, compared to the other NCL ships. Also, I don't like how so many of the venues are closed off, especially Bliss Ultra Lounge. Its pretty much dead all the time, I think venues are busier and more fun when they are open to the corridors and you can more easily "bar-hop". The service was good on my first Epic, and I personally had no issues with the second one, but the people I met did. They were very angry with the speed and quality of the restaurants, and entertainment staff, and a group of solo travellers banded together and posted an open protest letter in the solo lounge.

 

Also, the other thing is-- once I went on an NCL ship OTHER than the Epic, that's when I realized what I was truly missing. I sailed the Excape and will be doing the Bliss next week, and really, its just a hands-down no-comparison, in terms of the quality of the venues and amount of things to do. I know NCL is not considered as "upscale" of a line as RCCL or Celebrity X, but the Excape is like...the upscale version of NCL. And I hear Bliss is even nicer.

 

Overall, I would go on Epic again, but only if it was to be with people I knew or places to see. It really is a poorly-designed, dark and dated ship compared to the others in NCL. It might not seem so at first, but it is when you start comparing it to what else is out there, that the realization comes true. I also think that's why some of the cheapest deals are found on Epic and why NCL only made one in its class. 🙂 No one wants to go on it anymore.

Edited by marktwothousand

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4 minutes ago, havanadaydreaming said:

 

 

IF i had to state my one beef it would be being shoehorned into a booth for 6 at the Cirque show. 

 

 

 

 

As a side note to the Cirque show, though I payed for Premium seats (downstairs), I was ushered upstairs.

The people next to me said the same thing and let me know that they had received a call from the ticket office, recommending to get there early and they said that, apparently, it wasn’t early enough.

I never received a call. At the end of the show, we both agreed that our view seemed to be better than down below as we had an unobstructed biew from above and were not crammed in.

Highly suspicious that NCL sells as many Premium seats at a higher rate and then escort people upstairs, when the floor is filled.

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