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Bribrittmom

Why is the Epic so unpopular?

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We’re veteran cruisers with many sailings on Carnival and Royal but cruising Norwegian for the first time in August. Sailing on the Epic to the Mediterranean. It’s for our 40 th anniversary and I was so excited but now starting to be nervous about my decision. I’ve never seen so much negativity toward a ship as the Epic gets here. What is it about the ship that so many dislike?

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I've sailed on Pearl, Jewel, Sky, Star, Dawn, Getaway, Breakaway and Epic. From the Studios (1x) to the Garden Villas (3x). I've enjoyed every one of my cruises. However, I think many people simply are uncomfortable with the bathroom design in the majority of the cabins. It does lack a sense of "privacy" that American people have with using the restroom and washing their hands afterwards. Also, the seats in the theater do tend to somewhat place your legs lower than your fanny which is akward for many people. In addition, it does seems like you have to try harder to view the ocean from the public places. All my opionions of course.

 

Edited by realcindylouwho

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I have been on the Epic 5 times on that Med cruise and love it.  I would go again annually if I had enough annual leave.  Realcindy mentions the odd bathroom layout but that is only minor - and some people like it -  I actually find it useful when getting ready.  

 

Don't be nervous, go and have a great time on a fantastic ship.  

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We went on the Epic back in April last year and enjoyed the cruise.  We've been on about 30 cruises and have enjoyed them all, obviously some more than others.  We have also been on the Norwegian Pearl and Jewel and feel these 2 ships win hands down when compared to the Epic.

 

The Epic is a very nice ship, however I would have to say that it is not one of our favourite ships for a few reasons.  Like many we did not like the cabin design.  We had a normal balcony cabin and there were 3 of us in the cabin.  The curved design just does not work.  The 3rd bed, which is the sofa is an awful design and is as hard as a rock.  The bathroom layout is also not very functional and the basin and mirror next to the bed makes it difficult to move from one end of the cabin to the other if someone is using the mirror to get ready for dinner etc.

 

The fact that you have to book all the shows on Epic is not something we like.  The Theatre on the Epic is very small for a ship that size and unless you book early you miss out.

 

The Epic also feels like a very "enclosed" ship.  It has no areas like the Great Outdoors or the Spinnaker Lounge on the Jewel Class ships where you can sit and look out at the sea.  The buffet is also a strange design and very spread out unlike the Jewel which has food stations close to each other. 

 

The Epic also felt a very crowded ship where you have to line up for just about everything, unlike the Pearl and Jewel where it rarely felt crowded.

 

We felt that the pool deck is too small for a ship the size of Epic.  It has 2 main pools (not including the tiny Spice H20 pool) which are virtually the same size as the 2 pools on the Pearl and Jewel, however the Epic holds about 1700 more passengers.

I can tell you that I now know what it feels like to be a sardine after getting in the Epic pools on a hot day.

Conversely, the pools on the Pearl and Jewel were much more comfortable and way less crowded. 

 

The Casino on the Epic is located in an area where you regularly required to walk through to get from one end of the ship to the other.  We hardly ever needed to walk through the Casino on the Pearl or Jewel.  

 

Seating for La Cecina Italian Restaurant on the Epic is located in an open area below the buffet seating.  We were seated in this area when we dined at La Cucina and above us were a group of people playing cards and making a hell of a racket whilst we were trying to enjoy a nice dinner.  La Cucina on the Pearl and Jewel is next to the buffet but fully closed off at night with no adjacent noise from the buffet.

 

Having said all the above there are definitely some aspects of the Epic that we did like.  The entertainment is the best we've experienced on a ship.  The stage shows are first class and the Circus show and dinner in the Speigel Tent was incredible.  The water slides are great if you don't mind the wait, the Cavern Club, whilst on the small side is a fantastic venue to watch live bands and Howl at the Moon duelling pianos was great.  The quality and choice of entertainment available on the Epic is definitely the ship's strong point and is a reason to pick this ship.

 

Not sure how accurate this is but was told that there were initially plans to build more ships in the Epic Class, however these plans were scrapped when the ship turned out to be not as popular as was expected.  The Epic was a bit of an experiment as it is totally different to previous Norwegian builds.

 

Glad we tried the Epic but in future will stick to the Jewel Class ships as we feel they are the perfect size and have a lot of what the Epic has without the crowds.

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After reading the recent posts about Epic, it appears that service seems to be an issue of late as well.  Slow service at dinner, slow bar service, below average service from room stewards.  Most people could probably overlook Epic's (arguable) design flaws if they receive excellent service, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

 

I am one of the "American people" who isn't a fan of the bathroom layout.  That said, I would still consider Epic on a port-intensive itinerary (like the Med), if the price was right and I started hearing better service reviews.

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Been on the Epic 5 times and one of our favorite ships.  I just wish she wasn't going to San Juan:classic_sad:  The only issue we have with the Epic is the inside cabins are so tiny and dark.  Hard to see a thing.  Therefore whenever we sail on the Epic we have to get a balcony otherwise love the ship.

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She's unpopular because she is unconventional and pushed the envelope.  IMHO, Epic is still the coolest looking cruise ship but so many say they would never sail her simply because she is so ugly.  Don't get it.  Many Americans also over reacted by having a sink and shower separate from the toilet.

There are fair criticisms of the ship like not as many open air ocean views.  But there are so many great things about Epic.   Largest spa and gym at sea and all the fantastic restaurants.  Some like the curved walls while others do not.  But I get and appreciate the "dare to be different" philosophy.  

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We  did not care for her as much as other ships but certainly she isn't as bad as some make out. Remember is it so much easier to complain than praise. We happen to like the cabin arrangement if there are only 2 in the cabin. Otherwise the space is  bit limited and the shower situation is a bit strange  For us, we liked the shower set up. Service wise, it just happened to be the worst service we had gotten on an NCL ship. Our cabin stewardess went from being helpful and satisfactory to down right rude toward the end. In all fairness this was the first sailing out of Cape Canaveral and everything was a bit different and it rained the first couple of days.

So, you see we had reasons for not being in love with her, but certainly did not hate our experience and would sail her again if the itinerary was what we wanted. 

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7 hours ago, Bribrittmom said:

We’re veteran cruisers with many sailings on Carnival and Royal but cruising Norwegian for the first time in August. Sailing on the Epic to the Mediterranean. It’s for our 40 th anniversary and I was so excited but now starting to be nervous about my decision. I’ve never seen so much negativity toward a ship as the Epic gets here. What is it about the ship that so many dislike?

We have sailed on the Epic 6 times, twice in the Med. We love the ship and love the itinerary. In general, people like to complain just for the sake of hiding behind an anonymous handle and flaming things. The Epic was NCL's first megaship and for a very short time, was the biggest cruise ship in the world. So,,, all things anti-megaship get complained about. She was the first to get rid of the traditional cruise ship entertainment (not-so-funny comedians that can't remember their jokes, and the magicians who can't find their rabbits) and host Vegas-style shows. She featured a European boutique room design which you find in expensive land based hotels, that traditionalist complained about that (after 6 cruises on the Epic, I can personally tell you is a non-issue). 

 

We particularly enjoy Freestyle Cruising and enjoying our vacation. We sail Royal a lot, and Royal is fighting a losing battle to hang on to old time cruising (fixed time dining, formal nights) which is NOT what the contemporary cruiser wants. 

 

Stop being nervous. Enjoy the Epic. We would book her again in a heartbeat. 

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The Epic was our least favorite NCL ship.  It's design seemed to create a more crowded feel.  The pool area was so small and crowded that it was unusable.

 

We didn't like the Mega ship feel.  We felt crowded more than on other cruise ships from NCL and Celebrity and Royal C.

 

We hated the Blue Man Group show.  We did like the Circ Solet show.

 

Didn't like the cabin design with the toilet separate from shower and sink.  If you had visitors, you could not use the toilet unless you wanted everyone to hear what you were doing in the toilet.

 

The balcony seemed smaller than on other NCL ships.

 

Many of the shows we had to book, instead of just showing up.

 

We like more ocean views on cruise ships.  I think Celebrity has the best designs.

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I have been Epic twice before and am booked for 15 th May from Rome.  The itinerary is the same as before but there are still places I want to visit.  For me as a solo traveller the Epic scores highly because the studio cabins mean no solo supplements, there is the Studio Lounge where solos can meet up each evening and there is a crew member assigned to the Lounge. He/she will arrange for groups to dine together, go to the shows and even arrange shore excursions.  The entertainment is good although some people don’t like having to pre-book this.  Food enjoyable but if I am honest not as good as some other cruise lines.  Overall for me it represents good value for money.

 

Suzanne (Bristol, UK)

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The bathroom design did not bother us but the crowds at venues that did not take reservations , the crowded outdoor spaces ,

the walk thru the stretched out smoky  casino to get to many public areas , are just a few dislikes. In general a poor ship design

(why there was only 1 Epic design? ). 80+ cruises under our belt since 1979 and we rate the Epic near the bottom of favorites.

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I don't get the hate either.  Especially this day and age when you can review EVERYTHING and there are a ton of trip reports.  We sailed on the Epic 2 years ago and had a great time.  Yes the cabin is different than anything we have stayed in before but it wasn't going to ruin our vacation.  We knew about it going in and prepared the kids for it.  But then again, we have a teenage boy who can be, well, a teenage boy so we are used to bodily sounds.  

 

I have even heard that the ship is "ugly to look at from a distance".  Never understood that one.  Yes, it's big but we never had issues finding chairs on the deck.  Even went over spring break and the crowd was well behaved.  We would book another cruise on the Epic in a second.  Of course you will run into your entitled crowd but we spent years vacationing in Disney so we are used to them and just laugh and go about having a great time.  

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I guess I am in the minority because I love the Epic. I have sailed on the Epic 6 times to include the Med and the transatlantic in Nov, 2018.  I loved the size, loved the service.  Yes, there are a few things that I found to be annoying, but not enough to ruin my vacation.  I will be sailing again in March, 2019.  I am doing a back to back to back, so looking forward to 3 glorious weeks on my favorite ship.  

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For us, it was the design and the feel of being overcrowded as to why its not one of our favorites.  In terms of customer capacity it is about the same size as the Freedom Class for RCI.  We sailed the Independence of Seas - that ship is so much better designed with a much better flow to it. 

 

We found the entertainment on the Epic to be outstanding and had no problems with service of food (we mostly do specialty dining).  The overcrowding felt disappointing at some of the events that you could not reserve (such as Howl at the Moon).

 

If the itinerary and price were right, we would absolutely sail the Epic again.  Just takes some pre-planning to make sure you book your seats for the shows before getting on the ship.  Its not our favorite, but its not as horrible as some of the reviews I have seen.

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I disliked the Epic so much that I'm boarding my next Epic cruise in 18 days.

 

As a solo passenger, I didn't mind the bathroom design. The only criticisms I might have are that there is less open deck space than on some other ships (I would have liked being aboard the Epic for a fall cruise to Canada that was actually on the Gem, in mostly cold, rainy weather) and there are no midship elevators. In April of last year I had one issue with the MDR service and spoke with a dining manager about it.

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The Epic was the first cruise ship I was ever on; my wife and I did the Mediterranean for our honeymoon aboard the Epic. We loved it. Of course, it was our first cruise, so everything was new and amazing. 

 

The curvy cabin didn't bother us. The balconies were a good size. The bathroom design wasn't a big deal for us. It was actually nice to have the shower and toilet and sink separate. The not-quite-private toilet, yeah, that was a little weird. Since it was just us, it wasn't a big deal, but I can see how others wouldn't like it. 

 

Looking back, the only thing I didn't like about the Epic was the lack of a promenade. I love taking walks during days at sea -- the newer ships have the Waterfront on Deck 8 (which is awesome) and the lifeboat-obstructed promenade on Deck 7, and the older ships have the wraparound promenades. The Epic has the lifeboat-obstructed promenade on Deck 7, and that's it. 

 

I'd say the Epic is best-suited to port-intensive itineraries like the Mediterranean, which is probably why it spends a lot of time there. We'd certainly book the Epic again for such an itinerary.

Edited by dcipjr

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MikeC1610- hit almost all of the reasons we disliked the ship.  I could get over the setup of the bathroom, but the general setup of the ship was its downfall.  

 

We were on board last December and the service in all areas of the ship was lacking.  No one looked happy to be there.  If you are in service and hate your job find a new job.  If we could have gotten decent service at any venue it would have made a world of difference in our experience.  

 

The other big downfall is for such a big ship most of the venues seem under sized.  To get into non-reserved shows we had to show up 45 minutes to an hour early.  Many events ended up being standing room only.  Crowded venues just make the ship feel small and interferes with how service personnel can provide service. 

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I'll be on the Epic in Sept and REALLY looking forward to this cruise !

i booked last Sept. At that time people were posting trip reports for the Med itinerary and the reports were positive, except for the occasional whine about the bathroom. 

I think the expectations are different when you sail a Med itinerary vs a Caribbean itinerary.   A Med cruise is about the itinerary, but a Caribbean cruise is more about the ship.  Personally, I don't really enjoy cruising. I'm taking this trip for the itinerary; the EPIC is just an easy way of getting me to a few new destinations. If I also enjoy a few decent meals, a few drinks and some entertainment, what a bonus!   I'm really looking forward to this trip .... I'm going to have a great time and will enjoy every minute of it.   Hope you do too.

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7 hours ago, MikeC1610 said:

Glad we tried the Epic but in future will stick to the Jewel Class ships as we feel they are the perfect size and have a lot of what the Epic has without the crowds.

 

I wish they were building more Jewel Class ships

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11 hours ago, Bribrittmom said:

We’re veteran cruisers with many sailings on Carnival and Royal but cruising Norwegian for the first time in August. Sailing on the Epic to the Mediterranean. It’s for our 40 th anniversary and I was so excited but now starting to be nervous about my decision. I’ve never seen so much negativity toward a ship as the Epic gets here. What is it about the ship that so many dislike?

The Epic is so bad that they cancelled making the sister ship,(cost millions in planning) We are all different, for us, one of the biggest likes about cruising is sight  lines, Epic feels like a closed box.  We love to able to walk around the ship outdoors and view the wonderful ocean. Epic that aint gonna happen.

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For us the "unpopularity" started and ended with our cabin, I did not realize that our balcony cabin on Deck 8 had the bed next to the bathroom. Every 2nd cabin on that deck did. Now that in itself was not terrible but the "dresser" with the phone etc. was placed directly across from the foot of the bed. There was no room at all for going back and forth to the door and bathroom without crawling over something or someone. The 2nd problem  was that it was a maze reaching the elevators and stairs. Turn left, turn right turn left and turn right again. If you don't have this cabin/location problem it is a great ship IMO. The best entertainment of any cruise ship I have been on, bar none. Do due diligence on your cabin and no problem.

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We're sailing in April and I'm going in with an open mind. This cruise DH & I are taking our oldest son and his wife. My son has very limited vacation time and Epic fit, so off we'll go with a few days at Disney before.  We're all pretty laid back and all really enjoy cruising so I'm sure we'll have fun. :classic_smile:

Heather

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Only ship we have never liked and disliked it so much have since sailed MSc and Celebrity. If you want to see the ocean make sure you have a balcony cabin. There are few windows in the public areas, the promenade is blocked by life boats and stinks of cooking fat. The cabins feel like you are camping with no private bathrooms. Public venues are tiny for the size of the ship, you will be lucky to find a seat at a bar. Queues at all bars are insane. Theatre holds 700 for a 4000 person ship which means performances are on constant repeat. Specialty restaurants were inferior to the mdr. Mdr queues were on average 40 minutes. Service was poor, which is the only time I have said that on an ncl sailing (7 sailings). Getting on and off the ship was incredibly difficult, made to stand in the rain for 40 minutes. Interior of ship stinks of smoke because casino is in the middle around an open atrium, you can’t avoid it. 2 lift wells only.

Quality of shows and music was very good. That was about it. Honestly choose any other ncl ship, they only made one of these for a reason!

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Well, just booked the Epic for next Jan.  then I read this post....I remember that when I saw pictures of the Epic when it first came out I thought that maybe the sinks near the bed would be convenient for feet washing.....with all the beach ports ( 10 on an 11 day cruise  I'm sure my sandy feet will need washing before dinner🤗  I can hang them over my balcony to dry😃

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