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What’s unique about the Epic...besides the bathroom?


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Longtime cruisers(30+) but in October we join a large group of friends on a Mediterranean cruise, and this will be our first time on NCL. We know we will have a wonderful time with friends and enjoy the ports. We are trying to set realistic expectations about the ship experience.  Our European cruises have all been on MUCH smaller ships. 

 

What should we expect with crowd control...embarkation, ports, venues?  It looks like advanced planning and reservations are required. Understand that Covid restrictions may still have an impact in October.

 

it looks like lots to do at night which will be great with this group.  Are venues crowded or hard to get in?

 

The cabin...it certainly looks unique. We have a basic balcony on 13. I’ll reserve judgement on the bathroom, although my first impression based on photos isn’t great.  But no one cruises for the bathrooms! 
 

Service? We generally have been impressed with service on all our cruises, whether low end or high...we’ve cruises on everything from Carnival to  Regent. We are not hard to please with any sincere effort appreciated. Is there water and ice service in the cabin? Breakfast roomservice, even limited, available? Coffee makers..really? I was pretty excited to read that!

 

Really appreciate any comments and knowledge or tips any of you can share. It’s actually quite fun to be a newbie again and this will be our first, not last!, cruise since Covid.  

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The Epic is my least favorite ship in the fleet. It is easy to see why she never had a sister ship created once you sail on her. The Getaway and the Breakaway are the same ship, but with all the mistakes made in the Epic's build corrected. So what is wrong with the Epic? At full capacity, you will have trouble getting into some venues (comedy club comes to mind). Usually you can get standby tickets for the bigger productions in the theater. I am sure Covid safety protocols will shift this slightly, hopefully for the better. To me, the Epic is like a floating hotel on a ship base with no easy access public  to the outdoors. It has been a while since I have sailed on her, but I believe the first public access deck outside is 10. It is a claustrophobia trigger for me, but admittedly not everyone will feel the same way. I know they moved the ship to Europe due to her lack of acceptance in the US market. Other than that, I have no complaints. The same wonderful staff is still there! I would go with a group if that was the group's choice, but otherwise I would chose a different ship. 

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I was on the EPIC out of Barcelona in Sept 2019.  AWESOME cruise.

First of all, we LOVED the bathroom configuration.  It made getting ready in the mornings so much more efficient; one person could be at the sink while the other was in the shower. 

We made reservations well in advance for the Cirque show and got great seats. Same with Burn THE Floor. We made advance reservations for the Specialty Dining... no problems. 

The Cavern Club was usually standing room only by the time we got there. Good show.

Sometimes seating was hard to find at the buffet but there is a staircase within the buffet that leads to LaCucina ( quiet , good views so take advantage of it).

The only real hiccup was in Cannes where we had to tender. There was a lot of confusion, long lines and big crowds.

To be honest the itinerary was pretty exhausting, so we didn't take advantage of much of the night life other than the 2 shows.  

Have a great cruise !

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I don’t know how much things will change on the Epic while she is in drydock so my comments may not be accurate anymore.  The Epic has a lousy promenade deck.  For most of the length of it lifeboats block the ocean view, it doesn’t wrap around the ship, and the jogging track is on the starboard side of it.

 

Spice H2O on the Epic is the best of the big ships in my opinion.

 

What I consider a design flaw of the ship is that the wheelchair accessible cabins are at the rear of the ship yet the rear elevators don’t go to deck 5 where Guest Services and the Shores Excursions desks are located.  Wheelchair and scooter folks had to go to the front elevators to get to deck 5.

 

I’ve always felt that NCL had some of the best theater and lounge entertainment in the cruise industry.  The Epic was no exception.

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56 minutes ago, Junonia said:

I know they moved the ship to Europe due to her lack of acceptance in the US market.

 

Simply not true.  NCL has no trouble filling the Epic in the U.S.  

 

O.P,   I've sailed on her several times, always enjoyed pretty much everything about the ship with one big exception being the lack of good views out to sea from public areas.  NCL did a much better job on subsequent ships with the introduction of the Boardwalk areas.

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, ColeThornton said:

 

Simply not true.  NCL has no trouble filling the Epic in the U.S.  

 

O.P,   I've sailed on her several times, always enjoyed pretty much everything about the ship with one big exception being the lack of good views out to sea from public areas.  NCL did a much better job on subsequent ships with the introduction of the Boardwalk areas.

 

 

 

 

I was told this by one of the cruise directors re moving to Europe. When she was based out of Miami, there were always deep discounts. I live close to the port and keep my eye on prices. Of course cutting the price will fill most any ship. Of course, I could be wrong but I am going on the word of the CD. If I had a choice, I'd chose the Breakaway or Jewel class. Personal preference. 

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One of NCL’s best wait staff member is joining the Epic in 5 days, from the Philippines.  Ask around for Irra, a senior waiter, and say hello from Patricia and Jim.  Wish we were sailing with her; alas, we have no Epic cruises in our NCL future😰

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We sailed the Epic twice.  The front facing Buffet is nice.  The lack of a front facing observation lounge (or rear facing cafe) is not.  Every venue seemed to have too little room for that huge ship.  We ultimately just arrived very early to the Cavern Club (before anything started) and camped out in some front row seats.  That worked very well.

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I was concerned about the lack of promenade deck / forward facing viewing areas but we were in port all day so it wasn't an issue.  We got back to the ship most days around 5pm, had a shower,  and then the ship was underway again during dinner, so there was nothing to view in the dark.  I didn't consider it an issue for the Med itinerary, but perhaps for others.

We did find that quiet viewing area on the Deck 16 or 17 that was very enjoyable on our one sea day.

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If you enjoy the spa, the epic has the best spa at sea in my opinion. The thing that makes it stand out is that it is aft location and has a large balcony area facing the wake where you can lay outside in full shade (a bit of sun depending on time of day) with beautiful ocean beeezes. I found the heavy chlorine smell in the “aways” gave me a bit of a headache after awhile because there is no fresh air circulating. Plus there is amazing floor to ceiling windows in the sauna area.  It’s a design I have yet to see mimicked on any ship, not sure why. I’d sail epic again just for the spa. 

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We will be going on our second Epic cruise next April.  What I  didn't like was the sink opposite  the bed and it was very shallow.  Everything was splashed about.  Also the light above the sink was not very bright so we are bringing a lighted makeup mirror with us.

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I'm in the "least favorite" camp with the Epic. The bathroom situation is one issue that I think is more of a problem with a family with shy teens or unrelated people, but for a couple it was tolerable. Still, seeing your partner sit on the toilet is not typically on your vacation short list of great things to do. They did do a good job of ventilation of the little transporter tube that has the toilet, so while you can see the outline of the person, and hear the grunts, at least you can't smell it too.

 

My other problem with the ship is that it is almost entirely inward focused. It's hard to see the ocean, even from the small promenade decks on either side. The lifeboats, instead of being over your head, are positioned at eye level beside you, so you have to peak between them to see the ocean. You can get a better view at the fore and aft ends of the promenade deck. The more open design with the newer ships, where you can see the ocean easily from the promenade deck and even eat outside on them, shows how much of a mistake this was in the original design. At least for us ocean lovers.

 

But, we enjoyed the cruise overall. I don't recall problems with getting off the ship for excursions, or embarkation and dis-embarkation. We did run into crowding "pinch points" from time to time, but not as much as I expected. The staff was wonderful, and the dining options, etc. were all up to snuff, and the shows were great.  I probably wouldn't sail the Epic again, but I can see that it could easily be people's favorite ship that have different priorities than I do.

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18 minutes ago, fshagan said:

Still, seeing your partner sit on the toilet is not typically on your vacation short list of great things to do

🤣🤣🤣🤣

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7 hours ago, Junonia said:

The Epic is my least favorite ship in the fleet. It is easy to see why she never had a sister ship created once you sail on her. The Getaway and the Breakaway are the same ship, but with all the mistakes made in the Epic's build corrected. So what is wrong with the Epic? At full capacity, you will have trouble getting into some venues (comedy club comes to mind). Usually you can get standby tickets for the bigger productions in the theater. I am sure Covid safety protocols will shift this slightly, hopefully for the better. To me, the Epic is like a floating hotel on a ship base with no easy access public  to the outdoors. It has been a while since I have sailed on her, but I believe the first public access deck outside is 10. It is a claustrophobia trigger for me, but admittedly not everyone will feel the same way. I know they moved the ship to Europe due to her lack of acceptance in the US market. Other than that, I have no complaints. The same wonderful staff is still there! I would go with a group if that was the group's choice, but otherwise I would chose a different ship. 

We love the Epic and have sailed on her 6 or 7 times over the years. 

 

No. They did not complete the order of the Epic's sister ship because of a dispute with the shipyard which almost cause the cancellation of the Epic order. The order for the second ship was cancelled long before the Epic ever sailed. 

 

No. They did not move the ship to Europe. The Epic has been NCL's main Mediterranean cruise ship for the past 10 years and spends the winter months in the Caribbean,,, every year for the past 10 years (...well I guess not 2020). 

 

Yes. Like all of the mega ships in NCL's fleet (Epic Class and Breakaway/Breakaway Plus Class) and the Quantum and Oasis class ships for Royal, you have to reserve seats for the main theater shows and comedy shows (and you can go stand-by). There is nothing unique to the Epic here. The Epic actually has a large ultra lounge called the Bliss which is wonderful (especially after they removed the bowling alley from the rear during her 5-year dry dock). 

 

Like almost every other cruise ship ever built, Epic provide access to a promenade deck and a lido/pool deck. There is nothing different or "more claustrophobic" here. It has ample deck space. And a very large Spice H20 adults only pool deck at the aft which hosts nighttime parties.... it is the largest adult only Spice H20 in the fleet with a small pool that turns into a stage at night with jumbotron. 

 

 

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I've cruised twice on the Epic and had a third booking for January 2021. For a while it appeared that NCL was reading my mind and assigning the Epic to whatever itinerary I wanted to cruise next.

 

One feature that is unique to the Epic is that there are no non-balcony oceanview staterooms. This is good if you want a balcony, not so good if you want a window but also want to keep the cost down. A related feature is that there are no cabins on the lower decks; the lowest cabins are on deck 8.

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2 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

We love the Epic and have sailed on her 6 or 7 times over the years. 

 

No. They did not complete the order of the Epic's sister ship because of a dispute with the shipyard which almost cause the cancellation of the Epic order. The order for the second ship was cancelled long before the Epic ever sailed. 

 

No. They did not move the ship to Europe. The Epic has been NCL's main Mediterranean cruise ship for the past 10 years and spends the winter months in the Caribbean,,, every year for the past 10 years (...well I guess not 2020). 

 

Yes. Like all of the mega ships in NCL's fleet (Epic Class and Breakaway/Breakaway Plus Class) and the Quantum and Oasis class ships for Royal, you have to reserve seats for the main theater shows and comedy shows (and you can go stand-by). There is nothing unique to the Epic here. The Epic actually has a large ultra lounge called the Bliss which is wonderful (especially after they removed the bowling alley from the rear during her 5-year dry dock). 

 

Like almost every other cruise ship ever built, Epic provide access to a promenade deck and a lido/pool deck. There is nothing different or "more claustrophobic" here. It has ample deck space. And a very large Spice H20 adults only pool deck at the aft which hosts nighttime parties.... it is the largest adult only Spice H20 in the fleet with a small pool that turns into a stage at night with jumbotron. 

 

 

Wow. So much for letting everyone have their own opinion and experience. When I sailed on the Epic in 2009 or 2010, it was the last season the ship was based out of Miami. As far as the reason for moving it and not building a sister ship, I am repeating the words of the cruise director, who may know just a LITTLE more than you. Probably not though, since you seem to know everything. 🙄🥱

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12 minutes ago, Junonia said:

Wow. So much for letting everyone have their own opinion and experience. When I sailed on the Epic in 2009 or 2010, it was the last season the ship was based out of Miami. As far as the reason for moving it and not building a sister ship, I am repeating the words of the cruise director, who may know just a LITTLE more than you. Probably not though, since you seem to know everything. 🙄🥱

I went on her in 2015 because I heard that after that season she was no longer going to be in the States for the reason that you stated, this was just a few years later.

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1 minute ago, zdcatc12 said:

I went on her in 2015 because I heard that after that season she was no longer going to be in the States for the reason that you stated, this was just a few years later.

Thank you. I know I didn't make it up! And maybe it was later than 2010. You are right in that it doesn't seem so long ago.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Yinster said:

The epic is a marmite ship. People either love her or they hate her. We love her. 

 

:classic_biggrin::classic_wink: That would seem to be about right !

Edited by pspercy
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One other thing I really didn’t like about the Epic was the wave wall.  That design made the cabin feel and look smaller than it really is.

 

I cruised out of Miami on the Epic 2016 and swore I would never cruise on her again unless it cruised to some ports I wanted to go to.  Fast forward to Jan 2020 and we cruised on her again for an 11 day southern Caribbean that was port intensive and visited the ABC islands.

 

On that 2020 ABC cruise I thought it was interesting that the trademark Freestyle Cruising logo on the side of the ship had been painted over so it was barely visible.  The Epic is the least favorite ship that I’ve sailed on but with the right price and the right ports I’d sail on her again.

 

IMG_0287_2.thumb.jpg.412d53778b4a52b926c47e8484d23ab5.jpg

 

I have no experience but I’ve heard the Epic has one of the best Haven areas in the fleet too.  For the rest of us baggage class passengers the Epic is nothing special.

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