Thinking About a Honeymoon Cruise? Review of: Norwegian Epic
Excuse the long review... but I hope it will be helpful for anyone planning their honeymoons!
My husband and I recently spent the second week of our honeymoon aboard the Norwegian Epic in the Mediterranean. I'd like to start by saying that I've taken a number of cruises on many other lines before - so my standards are higher than some. If you haven't been on a cruise before or aren't very picky, you probably won't find this review helpful. But, if you are picky and are thinking about the Epic, I would highly recommend against it.
The ship is huge - 4000 passengers. I should've known that it wouldn't be as personal, but I thought that since we were staying in a mini-suite and had plastered all of our documentation with "hooneymooners", we'd still receive a personal touch. From the first day it was a mess. When we arrived at our stateroom to take a much needed nap, we found our linens were dirty - specks of what looked like blood all over the sheets. The steward gave us some attitude that we were there too early - as though it was an excuse to have put dirty sheets in the room. The wavy design of the room as a whole looked like a lot of fun - but it felt really cheap. The hair dryer only works on cold, our sink had a massive chip that was messily covered in plaster... not the honeymoon suite we were really looking forward to. The balcony was also very small compared to other ships.
We bought access to the Posh deck - an upgraded sundeck that would allow us to feel like we had an "exclusive" place to go away from the crowds. The problem was when access was added to our keycards, our key cards no longer worked to our rooms. When they printed new cards, access no longer worked for Posh. We had to visit guest services 5-6 times in the first 36 hours to have this sorted out - it was an absolute mess. They would try to assuage our frustration with a free bottle of wine - but by the 6th time we were at the desk we didn't want it anymore - we just wanted our cards to work. The Posh deck itself was okay, but all of the charis and loungers had big fluffy mattresses on them that clearly were never taken off when it rained - so they were always soaking wet. Quite the unpleasant surprise when we sat down in our nice dinner clothes with a drink!
The worst part of it all was the food. It was bland, alternatively dry or undercooked, and totally unimaginative. We're talking "meat lasagna" that was obviously nuked in a microwave. We ate at all of the included restaurants and found it to be the same everywhere. Signs that said "ask us for a turkey burger or veggie burger" were met with "oh, we don't have that" - on the first day of the cruise! We always had a 20-30 minute wait to sit down in the main dining room (thanks, "free style cruising") regardless of when we arrived. The only good experience we had with food was at the Steakhouse - an extra charge, of course. Room service was also a disaster. We had early port disembarkments many mornings, and although their delivery menu cards were basic, we never once received the correct food we ordered to the room.
The entertainment options were okay - the Blue Man Group was there, and that was an entertaining show. There was also a dueling piano group that was the sole bright spot for me on the cruise - my husband and I attended their 4 hour late night show every night we could. The port stops were great - Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, and Palma in Majorca. We took mostly 3rd party excursions, as we prefer smaller groups. We did book a last minute NCL excursion in Florence, which was lovely. It was larger than we would have liked (30 people on our bus, and a second bus with another 20 joined us halfway through), but the guide was excellent and had great knowledge of the city.
Overall - I would urge anyone thinking of a trip on the Epic to reconsider. The lower price for the area is NOT worth the value. I will never cruise with that line again. As I mentioned earlier in my review, if you haven't cruised before, or aren't very picky, you may enjoy the line... but if you're looking for something really special or a personal touch, I'd advise against it. We were incredibly disappointed to spend our honeymoon with them - guess we'll just have to make up for it with another trip
*Edited because TK is eating my paragraphs.