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We’ve had great cruises on both the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade in the past, mainly because we loved the quality and wide variety of theatre and game shows. Okay, so we had a bad experience on the Norwegian Bliss recently, mainly because the way that ship is laid out didn’t make for a good entertainment experience for us. But because we had been on the Epic before, we were confident that our sons and their families would enjoy a Mediterranean cruise with us. When they threw in a free drinks package for us all, we were even more confident. Wrong! What we hadn’t realised is that since we last cruised on the Epic, it has been redesigned so that in many areas of the ship it resembles the Norwegian Bliss, and in particular the bits which we hated. For example, to reach the Windjammer restaurant you need to go across the 6th floor. Half of the 6th is a smoky casino and the other half a very noisy but drab pub. Not ideal for small kids to pass through, but it was hard to avoid doing so. Then there’s the Atrium, which is now the location for all the game shows, quizzes, live bands, and cinema shows. It also doubles as Guest Services, Future Cruises, and Excursions, as well as being the main thoroughfare in the ship. All in all it’s absolute bedlam, you can’t hear the quiz questions, you can’t hear what the guest services staff say, and the constant movement of people makes it a totally inappropriate place for entertainment. Now don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy this cruise, but to a large extent it was despite the Epic rather than because of it. The food was good, though the service in the Windjammer was slow: one evening it took over two hours for our party of 10 to get our meal. Hint: use Taste, the service is much better in there and the staff friendlier. The Garden Café buffet was always busy, but we always found a table big enough for us all at the very front of the ship. I’m sorry, though, Norwegian, but the quality and variety of the entertainment on the Epic has gone downhill since the last time we came. Where were the magicians, the flamenco show, the trapeze artists, and the comedians of old? We missed the Burn the Floor dancing show because of the slow service in the Windjammer, and we couldn’t take the kids to see Priscilla and the Desert because it was not suitable for under 18s. What are you doing putting on a show like that when the ship is full of children (school holidays)?!! And as for putting “The Beatles” and the Motown singers on in the Epic theatre as two evening’s main entertainment when the same singers had been performing all week in other venues: well, we really felt short changed. Thank goodness NCL have persevered with the Duelling Pianos: they are the only touch of class in the current entertainment team. One thing that I need to mention about the staterooms is that they all have glass sided toilets and glass sided showers, with nowhere to dress or wash your hands other than inside the bedroom. I was pleased we hadn’t volunteered to have any of the grandkids share our room! Other niggles:- - It’s impossible to find a bar without music where you can have a quiet drink and a chat - The price to get into the circus for a meal and show is now 48 dollars pp including children. Sorry, but I think that’s extortion. - We were constantly being asked to buy raffle tickets. Hadn’t we paid enough? - No fountains or splash areas for older kids. - When the lift goes straight past your floor because one of the Haven cruisers has used their lift override card, it makes you feel very second class - We forked out a lot so that my grandson could acquire tickets on the arcade games, only to find at the end of the week that all his tickets “won” him two plastic rings. Here are my comments about the places we visited - Naples: we walked across the road from the port into the town, which is interesting. The grandkids enjoyed the funicular railway. One of my sons visited Pompei; he said it was still in need of renovation. - Civitavecchia: took the free shuttle bus into town and walked to a nice beach. The kids enjoyed it there. - Livorno: they wanted to charge us 15 Euros pp for a two mile coach trip to the railway station for trains to Pisa and Florence. We stopped onboard…… One of my sons went to Pisa; he said there was a leaning tower in need of renovation. - Cannes: the highlight of the cruise. Lovely town, good shops, good beaches close to where the (well organised) shuttle boats dropped us off. - Palma: they wanted us to pay 15 Euros pp for a one mile return bus trip into town. Instead we took a taxi (9 Euros for 4 people) to the resort of Cala Mayor, a short trip South. Great beach which the kids loved. One thought, though. Why did the boat dawdle all the way from Cannes so that we only got to Palma at 1pm, by which time it was red hot? Were NCL cutting their costs? Would we sail with NCL again? I’m not so sure now. We might go on one of the smaller ships, but the entertainment would have to be getting rave reviews before I booked.

Disappointing entertainment

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Stockport cruiser

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Trip Details
We’ve had great cruises on both the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade in the past, mainly because we loved the quality and wide variety of theatre and game shows. Okay, so we had a bad experience on the Norwegian Bliss recently, mainly because the way that ship is laid out didn’t make for a good entertainment experience for us. But because we had been on the Epic before, we were confident that our sons and their families would enjoy a Mediterranean cruise with us. When they threw in a free drinks package for us all, we were even more confident.

Wrong! What we hadn’t realised is that since we last cruised on the Epic, it has been redesigned so that in many areas of the ship it resembles the Norwegian Bliss, and in particular the bits which we hated. For example, to reach the Windjammer restaurant you need to go across the 6th floor. Half of the 6th is a smoky casino and the other half a very noisy but drab pub. Not ideal for small kids to pass through, but it was hard to avoid doing so. Then there’s the Atrium, which is now the location for all the game shows, quizzes, live bands, and cinema shows. It also doubles as Guest Services, Future Cruises, and Excursions, as well as being the main thoroughfare in the ship. All in all it’s absolute bedlam, you can’t hear the quiz questions, you can’t hear what the guest services staff say, and the constant movement of people makes it a totally inappropriate place for entertainment.

Now don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy this cruise, but to a large extent it was despite the Epic rather than because of it. The food was good, though the service in the Windjammer was slow: one evening it took over two hours for our party of 10 to get our meal. Hint: use Taste, the service is much better in there and the staff friendlier. The Garden Café buffet was always busy, but we always found a table big enough for us all at the very front of the ship.

I’m sorry, though, Norwegian, but the quality and variety of the entertainment on the Epic has gone downhill since the last time we came. Where were the magicians, the flamenco show, the trapeze artists, and the comedians of old? We missed the Burn the Floor dancing show because of the slow service in the Windjammer, and we couldn’t take the kids to see Priscilla and the Desert because it was not suitable for under 18s. What are you doing putting on a show like that when the ship is full of children (school holidays)?!! And as for putting “The Beatles” and the Motown singers on in the Epic theatre as two evening’s main entertainment when the same singers had been performing all week in other venues: well, we really felt short changed. Thank goodness NCL have persevered with the Duelling Pianos: they are the only touch of class in the current entertainment team.

One thing that I need to mention about the staterooms is that they all have glass sided toilets and glass sided showers, with nowhere to dress or wash your hands other than inside the bedroom. I was pleased we hadn’t volunteered to have any of the grandkids share our room!

Other niggles:-

- It’s impossible to find a bar without music where you can have a quiet drink and a chat

- The price to get into the circus for a meal and show is now 48 dollars pp including children. Sorry, but I think that’s extortion.

- We were constantly being asked to buy raffle tickets. Hadn’t we paid enough?

- No fountains or splash areas for older kids.

- When the lift goes straight past your floor because one of the Haven cruisers has used their lift override card, it makes you feel very second class

- We forked out a lot so that my grandson could acquire tickets on the arcade games, only to find at the end of the week that all his tickets “won” him two plastic rings.

Here are my comments about the places we visited

- Naples: we walked across the road from the port into the town, which is interesting. The grandkids enjoyed the funicular railway. One of my sons visited Pompei; he said it was still in need of renovation.

- Civitavecchia: took the free shuttle bus into town and walked to a nice beach. The kids enjoyed it there.

- Livorno: they wanted to charge us 15 Euros pp for a two mile coach trip to the railway station for trains to Pisa and Florence. We stopped onboard…… One of my sons went to Pisa; he said there was a leaning tower in need of renovation.

- Cannes: the highlight of the cruise. Lovely town, good shops, good beaches close to where the (well organised) shuttle boats dropped us off.

- Palma: they wanted us to pay 15 Euros pp for a one mile return bus trip into town. Instead we took a taxi (9 Euros for 4 people) to the resort of Cala Mayor, a short trip South. Great beach which the kids loved. One thought, though. Why did the boat dawdle all the way from Cannes so that we only got to Palma at 1pm, by which time it was red hot? Were NCL cutting their costs?

Would we sail with NCL again? I’m not so sure now. We might go on one of the smaller ships, but the entertainment would have to be getting rave reviews before I booked.
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