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Cruise Reviews Epic...YIKES!


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I'm beginning to have second thoughts about my decision to cruise on the Epic again.  Recent reviews of the Epic in the Caribbean have been very negative.  I know, I know, take reviews with a grain of salt but one of those reviews reminded me of the things I disliked about the Epic.  By the way, the cabin layout doesn't bother us at all. If the food is good and the crew very friendly I can put up with the other negatives of the Epic. I booked this cruise because of the ports it will make in the S. Caribbean.  I won't be cruising on the Epic until the end of January so any issues with embarkation should be ironed out by then.

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1 hour ago, Oakman58 said:

I'm beginning to have second thoughts about my decision to cruise on the Epic again.  Recent reviews of the Epic in the Caribbean have been very negative.  I know, I know, take reviews with a grain of salt but one of those reviews reminded me of the things I disliked about the Epic.  By the way, the cabin layout doesn't bother us at all. If the food is good and the crew very friendly I can put up with the other negatives of the Epic. I booked this cruise because of the ports it will make in the S. Caribbean.  I won't be cruising on the Epic until the end of January so any issues with embarkation should be ironed out by then.

 

@Oakman58 I believe the issues with embarkation/disembarkation have improved since the Epic's initial arrival in San Juan as the next two sailings didn't seem to have the posts that the first one did.  Part of the issue is with Pan American Pier and the infrastructure to arrive and depart the pier itself.  The road into and out of the pier I believe is one lane each way, when you have multiple ships using the pier it would cause traffic congestion.  Adjusting your pier arrival time to around 1pm or 2pm local time should help alleviate any problems.

 

32 minutes ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

For every bad review you read there are probably 20 good reviews that don't get posted.  Anyone who goes into a cruise with a good attitude will have a great time IMO.

 

@RedwingHockeyFan I agree more people post negative stuff than positive, I think it might even be higher than 20 good.  We will be on the Epic and we are excited, we will have a fantastic time.  We expect to wait in lines at some points, that is what happens when you and 4000 of your new friends are all in one small area.  We will enjoy a cocktail and people watch!

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When did the Epic ever get good/great reviews.  It seems the Epic had a not so great transatlantic with a bit of a fiasco in Puerto Rico which garnered lots of complaints.   The Epic has always taken a beating in the reviews i.e. bathrooms, smoke, floating Las Vegas, no promenade deck, etc.

However, NCL has still built all of her ships based on the Epic model i.e. Casino center, splitting up dining rooms Taste/Savor, Spice H20, Haven restaurant, etc etc etc.

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Just because it is on the internet, doesn’t make it true. Her initial arrival was messy because of a late arrival due to weather/sea conditions at the port. Good on the Captain to take every precaution during docking to avoid any incidents (e.g., Carnival Glory and the Epic hitting the dock in San Juan earlier this year). But her late arrival caused a massive pile up at the terminal. 
 

These are unusual conditions and not the norm. 

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Don't get me wrong, I will have a good time on this cruise but there were more than a few things I didn't like about the Epic when I sailed on her a few years ago.  One issue I had was the elevators and one of the reviews reminded me of that issue.

 

I don't mind having just two banks of elevators but what I didn't like about the Epic was that you could only see 4 elevators at a time on the passenger cabin decks.  I hate waiting for an elevator only to have the doors open and there is no room for more passengers.  That was one thing I liked about the Breakaway, you could see all 8 elevators on the passenger cabin decks.  I'm 74 years old and I shattered the bones in my right ankle this year so while I can do stairs, I prefer not to.

 

I'm really looking forward to spending some time at Spice H2O on the Epic.  Spice on the Breakaway paled in comparison to the Epic.  As I said, I will have a good time on this cruise.  If the crowds of passengers start to get to me I will take my adult beverage and head to one of the quiet areas I discovered on my first Epic cruise.

 

I will say this, I think the Epic is one of the few ships you have to prepare yourself for.

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 I sailed Epic twice and loved her.  Lots of us feel that way but if you get outside your own bubble, the Epic has always been trashed in the review section from day one.  People say she is the ugliest ship and laugh at her.  Those that do sail tend to be negative about her.  I am in the minority but also live in reality.  Cant believe I had to clarify that one 🙄

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On 12/23/2019 at 7:25 AM, david_sobe said:

When did the Epic ever get good/great reviews.  It seems the Epic had a not so great transatlantic with a bit of a fiasco in Puerto Rico which garnered lots of complaints.   The Epic has always taken a beating in the reviews i.e. bathrooms, smoke, floating Las Vegas, no promenade deck, etc.

However, NCL has still built all of her ships based on the Epic model i.e. Casino center, splitting up dining rooms Taste/Savor, Spice H20, Haven restaurant, etc etc etc.

 

Yes, we found that out with our recent cruise on the Breakaway. I thought the smoke smell was handled better on the Breakaway than the Epic, but you are still "forced" to go through the casino on the public decks. We would actually go either fore or aft from our cabin on our deck and then down to whatever venue we were looking for.

 

The Breakaway did solve one issue we had with the Epic: being able to see water easily. The Waterfront on the newer ships is very nice for those of us who like the connection with the sea. On the Epic, other than the top decks, what passes for a promenade deck is a short fore-and-aft section that has the views mostly obscured by lifeboats.

 

But a lot of the "negatives" are the same for all of the ships we have been on that are over 3,000 passengers. It's strictly our personal opinion, because the ships are very popular with other cruisers.

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This thread reminds me of people who praise their children's school when the school is failing.  (The teachers are great!  They care so much for the kids!)  Yet most of the kids can't read, write or figure at grade level.   The ship is a failure on many levels and the reviews reflect that fact.  That's all.

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On 12/23/2019 at 10:28 AM, ColeThornton said:

 

 

Lots of times from lots of people.  Including myself the three times I sailed on her.

 

I was just on the Epic in October. No issue sailing on her again. But, I have often read that reviews for Caribbean sailings tend to be different than for the Europe sailings. I cruise to have a good time and don't have an entitled attitude so I tend to help myself have a good time. A lot of stuff people complain about on the reviews, don't trigger hysteria by me. The TA issue response was understandable, but I think the issue has been well explained already. 

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In many of the bad reviews, there are a lot of comparisons between the Epic and the newer ships. For example, the Epic does not have a Waterfront like the Escape, Breakaway, etc. That's just a reality of the ship. It's crazy to me that people complain about something that isnt there. There were ships designed before the Epic. They also don't have some features that the newer ships do have. I shake my head when I read reviews about what a ship does not have compared to a newer ship. Things change. Go on the ship with a waterfront if that is important to you, but don't complain about it not being on an older ship. Again, it goes back to research to me. If you know the Epic does not have a waterfront and was designed differently, why choose to sail on her and then post a rant about no Waterfront. I just shake my head.

 

For the elevator situation, there are many complaints also. The elevators are located where they are. Sail on the ship or don't sail on it. For those who need elevator access, I do get it and hope a plan works for you. We created a strategy for the elevators at busy times and it worked for us. We could not move the elevators, so we figured out what would work for us since we chose to get on the ship. If my family member who needed the elevators all the time was going on a cruise with us, we might have sailed a different ship, especially because of the Deck 5, 6, 7 situation. 

 

Cruising is a luxury. It's not like water that we need to live. I value my money like many people. So, I choose wisely how to spend it. If a ship has a design that does not work for me, I choose not to sail on it. Cruising is a choice. So, it just makes me shake my head when people rant about stuff that has been documented for years. It's like if I choose to stay at a hotel that I did not do any research on, then I wasted my money. I'm not going to rant about something structural like no indoor heated pool. With some research, I would have known that and should have selected a different hotel if that is important to me.

 

Now for stuff not in our control that impacted my cruise experience, fine. I totally get that. And, in reviews. Certainly share new info that may help fellow cruisers as they plan.

 

Sorry, I guess this topic of negative reviews/rants about repeated topics gets to me even more on Christmas day. Some stuff just matters more. I love cruising and do it to have a good time. I try to help myself have a nice time, before and during the cruise. 

 

Death is a big deal. Not seeing my room steward for three days to say hello to me is not a big deal to me. 

 

I will sail on the Epic when it has an itinerary and price that works for me. It's that simple. There are other ships and cruise lines that I wont sail. 

 

Not to minimize big issues that happen on cruises. 

 

Happy holidays everyone! 

 

Have a great time cruising everyone! 

 

Edited by blueslily
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I was on the Epic last week (first time on the Epic, maybe ninth on NCL).  Getting to the pier was slow (traffic) but once we were there, the embarkation was fantastic.  No lines to speak of, go in, drop off luggage, get our cards, walk on the ship.

 

The Epic isn't my favorite.  The room layout was fine for 2 - if they are married/dating/close. My problem is that it is designed so everyone focuses inside - it is made to feel like you aren't on a ship. In fact, where you should be able to see the water, from the top deck aft, they put up a huge screen where they show nature pictures.

 

Food in the MDR was adequate, buffet was a buffet, and the specialty dining pretty good.  O'Sheehan's is almost always crowded with a waiting list.  Hidden gem is the Noodle bar (included).

 

My biggest issue - the ship is loud.  For example, it is designed with open spaces between the decks, so the mid-main dining room, casino, and a bar are all sharing the same area.  Unless you have a balcony, you are not finding a quiet spot outside of, maybe, the library.

 

The Art Gallery had a surprisingly fun 'scavenger hunt' one evening (matching works with clues).

 

Surprisingly decent climbing wall too (about 5.intro to 5.10b, I'd guess).

 

Debarkation was slow - halted due to rain, and CBP was slow, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Taxis and shared buses are plentiful, but watch out: "we're leaving right now" means "I'll try to get more people for another 20 minutes before we leave."

 

Would I choose to go on the Epic over other ships, no.  Would I turn down a super discounted cruise on it, no.

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5 hours ago, jingle5616 said:

This thread reminds me of people who praise their children's school when the school is failing.  (The teachers are great!  They care so much for the kids!)  Yet most of the kids can't read, write or figure at grade level.   The ship is a failure on many levels and the reviews reflect that fact.  That's all.

Just to calibrate your assessment, how many times have you sailed on the Epic? We have been on the Epic 7 times and all of the -away class ships (including the Encore) 1 to 5 times each. We have also been in all of the Oasis class ships and some of the Quantum class ships by way of comparison. 

Edited by BirdTravels
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10 minutes ago, Newleno said:

There is a reason that there is no sister ships

 

Yes.  You are referring to the fact that there was two Epic class ships ordered with an option for a third and a contractual dispute between NCL and STX ship builders ended up with the second ship being cancelled.

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15 minutes ago, ColeThornton said:

 

Yes.  You are referring to the fact that there was two Epic class ships ordered with an option for a third and a contractual dispute between NCL and STX ship builders ended up with the second ship being cancelled.

Nope thats not the reason, take another guess at it

Edited by Newleno
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3 minutes ago, Newleno said:

Nope thats not it, take another guess at it

Actually that is EXACTLY it.  NCL cancelled subsequent F3 Class ships before Epic was completed.  The cancellation had nothing to do with passengers not liking the ship as none had been on it.

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6 hours ago, Newleno said:

Nope thats not the reason, take another guess at it

The build of the Epic took a lot longer than planned because of disputes between STX and NCL, and build issues including multiple fires on board. The order for the second epic class ship and the option for the third epic class ship we’re both canceled in 2008 two years before the Epic sailed for the first time. 

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The ship design of the Epic is terrible.  The main pool area is way too small and frankly not usable for most people.  The ship is our least favorite NCL ship.  We prefer ships like the Gem, Jade and Sun.

The Epic always seemed crowded.  The food was not a problem.  Entertainment was pretty good.

 

Unfortunately, the design feature of having the opening of the casino where the cigarette smoke filters up to the atrium is a huge mistake for NCL ships that have this feature.

We love the design of the Celebrity ships.  

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