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Norwegian Epic cruise review. Good, bad, plus tips!

This is my review of the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic. This cruise left on February 18th, 2024, and arrived back at Port Canaveral on February 25th. I will be going over everything. From rooms, service, ports, handicap accessibility, what's on each deck and so much more. A Pro's and Con's list and tips for cruising NCL will also be included. Be prepared this will be a long review. I have put in a table of contents to help you with 26-minute read. LOL Yes, I got a little long winded.

Table of Contents

Boarding at Port Canaveral February 18th- Day 1

When we arrived at Cruise Terminal 3, and it was a rainy mess. Luckily, we were dropped under the parking garage to meet the porters to drop off our luggage. From here you can walk to the elevator in the parking garage and go to level 3 to enter into the cruise terminal. If you are renting a Scootaround wheelchair do not go to elevator, just walk past the elevator and cross the small street and you will see the sign to pick up your handicap scooter. From there you drive up the 3-level ramp to the cruise terminal. If you miss the elevators there is also an escalator near the ramp to take you up to the 3rd floor.

Back view of the NCL Epic beside another ship at Cozumel.
View of NCL Epic beside another ship at Cozumel

As you walk in the terminal you will see several different lines to enter into. Line 1 for Priority access (you have to pay $200 per room for priority). Line 2 for the handicapped, and line 3 for everyone else. At this point, depending on what line you are in; times will vary to show your passports or birth certificates and receive your key cards to pass onto the next part of the check in process.

If you are not paying for priority, and want to avoid lines, avoid getting to the cruise terminal early. The busy time at the terminal is from 11 AM to 2PM, so if you arrive at near 3 PM you will get onboard easily. Remember you have to be onboard 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. So, a 3 pm arrival needs to have a 5pm departure time at least. If you arrive at 3 PM though it will only take you 10 minutes to get on board. This is way better than waiting the hour in a long line by showing up at noon.

Scooter rental from Scootaround
Scooter rental from Scootaround

After you get checked in and your given your room key, you will have to go through security, which is very similar to TSA airport security, but the security lines here are so much better. lol. They will not make you toss out your bottled water you are drinking, and you will not have to take off your shoes. People with disabilities or riding a scooter will not have to walk through the x-ray machine either.

After security you will go to the back of the terminal, then turn right when you pass through the doors. Next step you will walk the path to the ramp to board the ship. Once you are on board the ship you will scan your key card and next report to your muster station. This is the place you will go if there is a real emergency on the ship. Once at your muster station they will scan your key card and ask you if you know what to do and where to come in case of emergency. (You have to watch a video before arriving to the ship about what to do in case of an emergency.) My muster station was on deck 7 at the back of the ship in the Cagney's/Moderno restaurant. This was funny since I boarded the ship near that exact spot. You muster station code is at the bottom of your key card.

cheesecake brownie at O'Sheehan's Pub
cheesecake brownie at O'Sheehan's Pub

After that you are free to do basically whatever you want on the ship. Sort of. lol If you arrived before 2 or 2:30 PM you might be able to drop-off your carry-on luggage to your room, but the rooms are not open to visit yet. So, until the rooms are open you can walk around the ship, get lunch at the buffet, O'Sheehan's, or the main dining room. It was a rainy gloomy day so nobody was out on the pool deck, which was disappointing, but you cannot control the weather. The casino and the shops are not open and will not open until we are out to sea. But this is still a great time to check out the ship and get your bearings to figure out where you are in relation to your room, bars and restaurants.

Priority access- This is all the need-to-know info if you are paying to board early. This will cost $200 per room, but you get early access to the ship at embarkation and early debarkation off the ship when the cruise is over. You will also get first access to tender boats if your cruise has to use tender boats to the islands because there is not a pier. You also receive a $50 spa credit for each person in your room to be used on a port day. Snacks will also be delivered to your room at around 2pm every day, or most days depending on the ship. from canapés, cheese and crackers to chocolate covered strawberries, you never know what you will receive, but it will be a great little snack for your room. If you ordered these snacks separately delivered to your room, it could cost a bunch by the end of the week.

The best feature of priority access was room service breakfast delivery included every day. It is a limited menu but to have coffee, orange juice, cereal, milk, fruit, croissants, omelets. or French Toast delivered every morning is great. I loved having coffee in my room, on the balcony and eating a chocolate croissant every day in my PJs. lol. Typically, breakfast room service will cost you $4.95 a day, so if you are using this option in addition to the other perks priority access gives you, the $200 fee might be worth it. Personally, I was glad I did it, but I probably would not do it again.

Day 2- Great Stirrup Cay, the unexpected sea day.

Great Stirrup Cay
Great Stirrup Cay

Canceled due to bad weather. While on the balcony enjoying my coffee and chocolate croissant, I was concerned about the storm clouds that hovered in the sky. While on the balcony I could see the Royal Caribbean ship who uses the island right beside NCL's Great Stirrup Cay was having difficulties docking to Coco Cay. Their island even has a pier and do not use tender boats. NCL still has to use tender boats to the Great Stirrup Cay.

Royal Caribbean could not get docked at their own pier and canceled their trip to their own private island. I was witnessing it with my own eyes. After listening to the Epic try a couple different times to anchor so the tender boats could move the passengers to shore, the captain announced that we would not be docking at Great Stirrup Cay due to weather and waves. Personally, I was happy about this, those storm clouds would be keeping me away from going to the island anyways. So today became an unplanned sea day. New freestyle dailies were updated and passed out to the rooms and the NCL app was updated to show what fun things there would be to do on the ship today. This was the day where we went to deck 5 and played Deal or no Deal and enjoyed out first Starbucks trip on the cruise.

The inside of the ship was very crowded, in fact it was very hard to find a seat to play trivia or Deal or No Deal. I understood why, as nobody was on the outside deck because it was just rain and gloomy skies. The casino was slammed packed, and we attempted to play some of our favorite machines, but the money fairies were not on our side today as it was a complete loss.

We strolled around on the ship, checked out shops, sat at bars and would meander back to the room every once in a while, to enjoy the balcony where we could sit outside and not be rained on because of it being a covered balcony.

Dinner was at O'Sheehan's tonight where there was about a 10-minute wait to get seated, the food was excellent, nothing special just cheeseburgers and fries, plus carrot cake for mom and raspberry cheesecake brownie for me.

Day 3- what should have been our first day at sea.

The weather was a little bit better, but still not perfect, so many people were still not out on deck. Luckily today there were plenty of plans that had been made before the cruise. The Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 11 AM in the Cavern Club on deck 7. If you are not familiar with Cruise Critic here is the info. Not only, can you book cruises and learn about cruises from their website, but you can also find your roll call specific for your cruise. This used to be more popular in the past, and on some cruises, it is still very popular.

Cruise critic meet and greet, getting to know the crew.
Cruise critic meet and greet, getting to know the crew.

Facebook groups are just as common nowadays. Anyways the Cruise Critic meet and greet has a table with drinks and snacks plus were able to mingle with others who signed up to attend. At the beginning of the meet and greet we were able to meet the head staff members on the ship, even the cruise director and general manager. We were able to listen to them talk and ask questions about the ship and the cruise. I highly suggest joining cruise critic and finding your roll call so you can attend these meets and greets. Getting a chance to talk to the crew members and other fellow travelers are a perfect way to socialize and meet new people on the ship.

Between the Cruise Critic group and the Facebook groups there were other activities planned for people to do on the ship. At noon someone planned a shot glass exchange which some people were looking forward to attending, and at 2 PM was the $20 slot pull with the $100 slot pull right after. If you are unfamiliar with slot pulls basically everyone who want to play contributes $20 to the machine, and each person who contributed get to hit max bet a certain number of times. After everyone has had their turn to spin, we all split the winnings. Each slot pulls won on this cruise, which was great and unusual. The $20 slot pull won $36 a piece, and the $100 slot pull won $200 a piece for those who contributed. In fact, during the $100 slot pull, one of the spins a bonus, which caused a huge win where we received a hand pay. Here is the quick video of the hand pay, we won on the slot pull, its at the end of the short video.

7 layer cake at Cagney's
7 layer cake at Cagney's

Dinner tonight was an 8:30 reservation at Cagney's. My mom got Prime Rib, baked potato and the OMG cheesecake for dessert, I had the ribeye, mashed potatoes and the 7-layer cake. It all was delicious, and I highly recommend Cagney's specialty restaurant. Just remember the tip of making reservations as early as possible for these specialty restaurants.

Day 4- Montego Bay Jamaica

The weather was great today, very warm and the sun was out. There were many concerned about making this stop on the cruise ship since the United State put out a warning against Jamaica for tourists due to crime and medical care. Many people from the cruise did not step off the ship this day and that was their choice. Mon and I did not go far, but we did get off the ship, as she was using her Scootaround wheelchair. We did not have an excursion booked with the cruise line or a 3rd party tour.

Inside the Montego Bay Jamaica cruise terminal
Inside the Montego Bay Jamaica cruise terminal

The Montego Bay port is disappointing compared to other ports in the Caribbean. It is very industrial and there are not any shops located at the cruise terminal. There were 3 booths set up at the cruise terminal to buy some Jamaica items, but they were mostly just basic souvenirs.

To leave the port area you had to have a taxi or shore excursions because you are not allowed to just walk up the street since there are not any sidewalks and the city was 3 miles away.

Many people took a taxi to local beaches that I heard were pretty crowded, some people took a taxi to a resort that they bought a day pass for, which sounded like a wonderful thing. After doing some investigation I would agree, rent a day pass at Iberostar Resort, you will not be disappointed.

Some people took the bus that cost about $7 to the city center to do some shopping and get a closer look around the Montego Bay area. I heard some people complain about the bus, as it was geared to them making money and only taking you to the tourist shops in the area.

As for the views, the mountains or hills of Jamaca make for great pictures or videos as the ship pulls away from the port. If you are wanting to explore Montego Bay, don't be afraid. The country survives off tourist dollars, so book a shore excursion or take a taxi into the area. Just be mindful for your safety.

Beautiful view leaving Jamaica
Beautiful view leaving Jamaica

After the ship left port and we were back on the open sea, the main dining room was the place I wanted to check out tonight. The Manhattan and Taste are both available, I chose Taste because of the way the middle opened up to the 6th and 7th floor, and it was amazing. The Caeser salad on any NCL cruise ship have been the best I have ever had; I had the Mahi Mahi entree, and the lava cake for dessert. Later that night I was sitting at Shakers Martini Bar enjoying the piano playing songs I could sing along with while drinking espresso martini.

Day 5 Grand Cayman Island

Another beautiful day, but this is a tender port stop, so make sure early in the cruise you have booked your tender port reservations. They are free to book, and priority access owners will still be the first off, the ship. Originally the tender boats were going to pick us up close to the Georgetown, but the ship had to move to the other side of the island instead due to waves. Tender boats were still able to pick us up, but you had to pay for a bus ride into Georgetown which costed $7 to $10 depending on the mode of transportation you took. Many people were disappointed in this, thinking it was stated the rides were free, but it was a misunderstanding. If you wanted to go to Georgetown or had an excursion that left from that side of the island you had to pay to get over there.

Sunset after leaving the Grand Cayman area
Sunset after leaving the Grand Cayman area

Grand Cayman is and will always be one of my favorite islands. So much to see and do. From exploring Georgetown to Seven Mile beach and a million other excursions can be booked between the cruise ship or Viator. I will not get into the details of Grand Cayman on the blog, as I have written one already from my previous visits to this wonderful island. If you would like to learn more about Grand Cayman, click here.

Dinner tonight mom was staying in the room, so me and few of my friends were heading to Shanghai for some yummy Chinese food. This restaurant is included in the cruise fare, it is not a specialty restaurant. We ordered Calamari and potsticker appetizers and my entree was the lemon pepper chicken with fried rice. It was yummy and all of us enjoyed our dinners.

Day 6 Cozumel Mexico

Mom at Margaritaville in Cozumel
Mom at Margaritaville in Cozumel

The pier at Cozumel is great also. There are many shops and restaurants in case you are not taking an excursion. There is a Margaritaville, and a Senor Frogs restaurant that so many tourists love, many cute statues to get your picture taken with in port, and even a drug store where you can buy medicines that you typically need a prescription for in the in the United States. Honestly it is neat to check out, but if you have insurance in the United States the prices are not worth it. But I can see why people who don't have insurance might want to buy some medicines to avoid a doctor bill in the United States.

My mom and I hung out for a while in the port area and looked at shops, but we didn't stay long as we had appointments at the spa to use our $50 off certificates, we received for purchasing the priority access package. The Spa itself was very nice, my mom got a pedicure, and I got a facial. The $50 off helped with the price, but still it seemed pricier than just going to a spa back home. Still, I am glad I went to the spa and experienced what it was like on a cruise ship. Mom's pedicure was outstanding though. The spa and thermal spa area are well loved on the cruise line. With the thermal spa having separate and co'ed areas you can enjoy the spa however you would like. If you want access to the thermal spa, buy passes early, as they are limited.

Tonight, mom and I ate at the buffet. Some people complain about the food at the Garden Cafe, and sure I will agree somethings I am not a fan of either it needs salt, or I am trying something new and decide it is not my favorite thing to eat. Many people complain about the buffet, but for me I cannot complain. I always find something I enjoy. My favorite food at the buffet was the burgers, fries and the ice cream. A few months ago, I was on the NCL Gem, and I was not a fan of the burgers. Not sure how there could be such a difference between the cruise ships, but the Epic Cheeseburgers were great in comparison.

Day 7 last day at sea

This was a beautiful day on deck, and the mojitos were flowing. The wind on the ship made it a little chilly at times, but compared to all the rain we had the beginning of the week it was wonderful to just be out on deck 15 enjoying life.

I did not do much, just be lazy as we knew we had to pack up our suitcases and have them out the door before 11PM, because tomorrow we were back in Port Canaveral for debarkation. But before we placed out luggage out that night, we went to dinner at our last specialty dining restaurant. La Cucina the Italian restaurant. It was lovely, great calamari appetizer, lasagna entree and cannoli and tiramisu deserts. This was probably the best lasagna I have ever had.

Debarkation day :(

Because of our priority access we could have left the ship early, but we decided against it. We were able to order room service breakfast which I was shocked about since usually cruise ships are really trying to get everyone off the ship as soon as possible. At 9 am we finally left our room, scanned our key cards 1 for time to exit the ship and we were done. Leaving the ship was easy breezy. After scanning the key card, we went downstairs via the elevator because mom was still on her Scootaround scooter, and we picked up our luggage, went through customs and out the door we went, it took less than 15 minutes total. Luckily because mom was on the scooter someone was there to help us with her luggage and point us in the right direction to drop off the scooter once we were outside. We then were just a few feet away from our driver who was taking us back to Orlando to start our journey home.

Cruise Critic

Norwegian Epic Cruise review- the ship

There is a lot to talk about involving the Norwegian Epic cruise ship, I will discuss each major deck separately, mention the good and bad things as I go along, Plus, I will be giving you a bunch of info along the way.

View of the back of the Epic docked at Montego Bay Jamaica
View of the back of the Epic docked at Montego Bay Jamaica

News that I found out while on this cruise in the spring of 2025 the Epic is going to go into a dry dock for a major renovation. So, in just a little over a year from now the basics of this blog will be obsolete. I am not sure what is planned, but I am sure they will not be able to fix some of the things I consider odd about this ship. Either way the unique things on this ship do not and will not prevent me from taking this cruise again. Just hope this blog post will give you future cruisers an idea of what to expect on this cruise before it goes into the remodel.

When this ship was built, back in 2010, it was designed in France. This is the only NCL ship built by the French, which explains why the unique design compared to other ships in the fleet. One good and interesting thing about Norwegian Epic, this was the first ship to have to The Haven, which has become a very popular way of cruising and since released on the Epic all ships have some form of The Haven for those of you who can afford the luxury of the Haven cabins The Haven is more than a cabin, they have a specific bar, restaurant and lounge area. Plus, their own private pool deck, spa service and butler service. The Haven is all about luxury.

Deck 18 and 19

There are also deck 18 and 19 near the back of the ship, that you have to access by stairs. Deck 18 for the entrance to the waterslides and 19 just an extra quiet sundeck.

Deck 17

At the aft of the ship is the basketball area and sports complex. At the front deck 17 is dedicated the Haven Suite members.

Entrance to Haven restaurant
Entrance to Haven restaurant

Deck 16

The front part of the ship belongs to the Haven, so if you have Haven access rooms you can enjoy the lounge, bar, and restaurant area, along with amazing rooms a special pool and spa area.

Midship on deck 16 is the sundeck with more lounge chairs, entrance to the adult only area is also accessed on deck 16 at the back of the ship. Entourage for teenagers is also located on deck 16.

Deck 15

Deck 15 is the place to be on sunny days. On those days it can be crowded, and people will try to save beach chairs, so be up there early to get the chairs you want. But still I never had to much of an issue finding a place to sit anytime I was up there. Maybe it was the weather, because we did not have the best weather all week, but still getting a seat at the great outdoors or near the pools was easy enough.

Adult only area on the Epic
Adult only area on the Epic
  • Spice H2O (Adult only area with pool and 2 hot tubs) aft of ship.

  • Video arcade- near back of ship.

  • Water slides (although the entrance to slides are on deck 18)-near back of ship.

  • Kids miniature golf area (very tiny area) near back of ship.

  • Rock climbing wall- midship.

  • Kids pool area-midship.

  • Pools, Hot Tubs, Deck chairs, Beach towel rental, and Waves bar- midship.

  • The Great Outdoors outside grill- hamburgers and hot dogs basically- midship.

  • The Garden Café (indoor buffet)- large area located at the front of the ship.

  • Also, the entrance to the specialty Italian restaurant La Cucina is on deck 15. (Handicap entrance is on deck 14).

If you go to the buffet during peak hours, you will have issues trying to find a seat. 11AM to 1 PM for lunch is busy and 5:30 to 7 PM for dinner is busy. Breakfast any time after 8AM it was packed.

Ordering drinks while on deck 15 can be tough, but I have a tip for you here. If you are ordering alcohol and have the alcohol package order 2 at a time. It will save you time waiting for your drinks because you will have ordered 2. The waiters take your card to confirm you have the alcohol package then will come back with your drink. So, order 2 at a time and give the waiter a tip, it will be much appreciated. The longest I waited on the pool deck was 15 minutes for a drink.

Deck 14

As mentioned, before it is a weird set up for the handicap entrance to the specialty Italian restaurant. You walk past many rooms on deck 14 then enter into the back entrance of La Cucina Restaurant. Most enter in via the stairs in buffet seating area on deck 15. Splash Academy for the kid's area also located on deck 14, just in front near the elevators.

The Fitness Center, Mandara Spa and Salon, and the Thermal Spa Suite are located on this level, near the back of the ship.

Deck 13

At the very front of the ship is the bridge viewing room. This is a great place to visit to get a look at all the instruments and navigational tools used to keep the ship sailing. and tell the position of the ship. It is usually not busy in the bridge viewing room and there are a couple chairs and sometimes even coffee and snacks if you are paying this section of the ship a visit. I recommend at least checking out once, there are always interesting plaques on the walls to read too.

Deck 10

In the middle of all the rooms is the medical center. I found that odd, but it was not intrusive to the other rooms on that deck, in fact some on that floor probably did not even realize the medical center was on deck 10.

Seating near bars on deck 7
Seating near bars on deck 7

Deck 7

Deck 7 was the main place for indoor bars, places to sit and relax with a drink and listen to music in the evening. Specialty restaurants like Cagney's, Moderno, Teppanyaki, and Wasabi sushi bar are located on this level, along with all the shops and a barber shop. Shaker's martini bar, Maltings Whisky Bar, Skyy Vodka Ice Bar and the Humidor Cigar bar are located on this level. At the front of the ship was Bliss Ultra Lounge where you go to party at night with something different planned every night. There is always something going on there. The jogging and walking track are on this level too.

Personally, I loved the Shakers Martini Bar and the Piano player there always played song you could sing along too. I also love just around the corner from the piano at this bar, there is a little section of sofas and seats that are hidden and away from everything. Of course it was always busy there at night, but I enjoyed going to that little hidden section during the day for some quite time.

The Sky Vodka Ice Bar is a neat experience, you have to reserve in advance, and you will only be in there 30 minutes or typically the amount of time to finish 2 drinks. They supply you with a warm long jacket, but forget about wearing your sandals, or your toes will be super cold. The bar itself it a chilly 17 degrees, and it will cost you about $15 per person to enter.

Ice Bar
Ice Bar

One thing that I thought was quite unique on deck 7 was how you could look down to deck 6 from a few different parts of the ship. At mid ship you can even look all the way down to deck 5 and see people dining at the Taste main dining room. This was a beautifully designed for that aspect of the ship. It really is neat to see. Usually, you would call this area the Atrium, but it looks and feels nothing like other NCL ships I have been on so I could not call it the Atrium. It is a unique design.

Since we are talking about this design. You will notice differences in this ship compared to others when looking all over the ship, including the rooms. I will mention the one hiccup I did not like about the design. Deck 6 midship has an escalator to get to deck 5, because the aft elevators do not go to deck 5. This made it difficult for anyone in a scooter to get to deck 5 from the back of the ship, as they cannot use the escalator.

View from deck 7 to deck 6, casino area
View from deck 7 to deck 6, casino area

Deck 6

Deck 6 is a busy part of the ship also, it contains the Casino, Cascades Bar, O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill with bowling alley, The Manhattan Room (1 or 2 main dining rooms), Spiegel Tent, Cavern Club, Shanghai Restaurant and Noodle Bar, Headliners Comedy Bar, and the Epic Theater. I loved the casino; it is the largest casino I have seen on any ship I have ever been on. 2 disappointments I had on deck 6 were the lines at the Cascade Bar, and while I was gambling, I never had any wait staff come up and offer drinks while I was gambling. Maybe if I was winning in the casino the lack of wait staff or long lines at Cascades Bar would not have bothered me as much.

The Epic Theater was large, but it is true it is not large enough to accommodate everyone on the ship. So, if you are waiting to attend shows like Burn the Floor, you need to make reservations. Make those reservations early because waiting till day 2 on the ship will be too late to reserve a spot in most cases.

One of the best experiences I had in the Epic Theater was playing Wheel of Fortune. This is a new game NCL has started this year, in fact the time I played on the Epic was only the 3rd time it was played on the ship. It is just like the game show on TV, but you can participate in the crowd to solve puzzles and win prizes by using your cellphone and buying cards. 2 cards cost 25 bucks and you can buy up to 10 cards. Buying more cards makes the cost per each card cheaper. These cards on your phone by scanning a QR code at the beginning of the game. 3 contestants get randomly picked out of the theater and get to go on stage, spin their version of a wheel, and try to solve the puzzle, just like on the TV show. If you solve the puzzle as a contestant on stage, you get to keep the money you won by "spinning" their wheel. You even have a chance to win a free cruise. As a person playing along in the crowd, you win money by what the contestants spin, and if you solve the puzzle before anyone else in the crowd you win special prizes. Just type in your answer to the puzzle on your cell phone. I was shocked to see how quick people in the crowd were solving the puzzles, but this was so much fun to watch and play along, even though I did not win.

Deck 5

Deck 5 is one of my favorite places. Trivia, Deal or No Deal and many other fun games are played here. located nearby is Starbucks, guest services, shore excursion desk, and the cruise next desk area. If you compare this section to other ships, this is what I would call the Atrium, but it feels weird to call it the Atrium on this ship because of its location.

Deal or No Deal is another fun game to play where you buy cards and the by being in the audience you can also win. The best part of this game is, if you get lost and not sure if you won, the computer knows from where you purchased the cards. Just go to bingo, casino or the library to scan your key card and you will tell if you won an instant win ticket, a free photo or even better a free cruise. One lucky person from the audience gets to actually call out the numbers on the suitcases just like they would on TV and the dealer makes an offer to buy them out based upon what dollar amounts are left on the board. That is when they tell the dealer, deal or no deal.

Le Bistro specialty restaurant, card room, library, computer lounge and picture area are also located on this deck at the front of the ship. Midship Main dining room called Taste is located here, right beside the escalators to deck 6.

If a deck level is not listed, that is because it is a cabin deck or crew deck.

travel up

Room Layouts

One thing I have to point out are the unique Norwegian Epic cabins. It does not matter which room you choose you will notice lots of storage space with large closets, and separate shower and toilet rooms. Take a look at one of videos to understand this better. I really did enjoy how much storage space is available in the rooms.

Hallway of the solo cabin area
Hallway of the solo cabin area

Studio- Solo Cabin

Loved the looks of the solo studio rooms. they appear to have enough storage a large closet and colorful lights make it appear fun. Included in this area is the solo lounge. This is a great place to get some drinks and meet other solo travelers. Solo cruisers are well taken care of on any NCL ship, but I do have to say I love the looks of the solo cabins and lounge on the Epic.

Balcony Cabins

This was my room on the ship. Tons of storage which was a lot better than other balcony room in the NCL fleet in my opinion. Storage cabinets above the bed, under the couch, and behind the couch which I learned about very late in the cruise. Also. 3 pull out drawers near the balcony, plus a large cabinet above where you can hang items. There are 2 storage areas under the shelf near where the TV is located, and a 3-shelf cabinet near the closet. On top of that you still have room to store your luggage under the bed.

My balcony room
My balcony room

What was odd was the bathroom part of the room. Shower on the right of the entrance door of room, and toilet room to the left of the entrance door to the room. Sink is actually located outside this area, more in the main siting area of cabin. This is an odd set up, but I did not mind it. At least is you had to go potty, and someone was in the shower you could easily do it. Above the sink is a 3-shelf cabinet similar to a medicine cabinet.

The lights in the room took a bit for me to figure out, but once I did, I loved it. There are 3 switches on the wall when you walk in the room. 1 for room, 1 for shower, and 1 for toilet area. Then there is a card slot on the wall where you could pull the card up and it turn out every light in the room. If you did not want to use that card, you could switch lights off also by switches that were on the headboard of bed. There are even book reading lights on the headboard of bed. There is another light near the balcony door to switch on and off the light on the balcony and a light in the storage area on the wall where tv is located. There are USB chargers close by, and even one you could use on the back of the TV. plus 2 electric outlets under the shelf in the storage cabinet.

Club Balcony- also known as mini suite.

Just a little bit larger than the regular balcony room, similar storage options and a little bit larger TV. The bathroom area is still separated like it is in a balcony room, but the shower area actually has a tub which is nice for those who love to soak in a tub. Also, you can tell that the large balcony is longer than in other balcony rooms.

If you would like more information on other styles of rooms, check out YouTube or the NCL website. There are interior rooms, adjoining rooms, aft balcony rooms and of course the variety of Haven suites. just remember that if you are prone to seasickness, it might be best to stay in the middle of the ship and not very high off the ocean level. Some people do better with interior rooms if they have seasick issues because balcony rooms where they see the ocean do not help. My tip for seasickness if take Bonnie pills, they are an OTC medicine and do not cause drowsiness. I start taking them 1 day before the cruise, and for 2 days after the cruise. For me it seems to help with my sea legs that I tend to have after a cruise. If you forgot to bring anything for seasickness visit deck 10 medical center, they will give you something to help you out.

Handicap accessibility.

If you are handicapped, you can rent a scooter for the cruise as I mentioned at the beginning of the review. Scootaround will allow you to take it off the ship when in port, unless you have to use a tender boat to arrive in port. On our cruise Grand Cayman and Great Stirrup Cay are tender boat ports. So, if you have difficulties walking and need a scooter you will not be able to take the tender boats.

Shower chair if requested for a balcony room
Shower chair if requested for a balcony room

The staff was very helpful with my mom being handicapped and the use of the scooter. Our room was not a handicap accessible room so we could not pull the scooter in our room to charge at night. We could call guest services and they would come up and drive the scooter to a special place to charge it overnight. When mom was ready to use it the next day all we had to do was call guest services and they would bring it back to our room.

There were a couple times we needed help from the crew to lock in the back of the scooter so it would drive, but once we learned how to lock and unlock the back of scooter it was something we could easily do.

At the time of reservation, I let NCL know about mom's mobility issues, and they sent me a form to fill out where we could order special items to be delivered to our room to make mom more comfortable. You can order a shower chair and a lift to be placed on the toilet to raise the seat up a couple inches. We ordered the shower chair and mom was very grateful that NCL had this for her to use.

All of the staff were extremely helpful, guiding her on the scooter and on embarkation day and even on debarkation the staff was also extremely helpful.

The only complaint I have is about the design of the ship itself. Aft elevators not going to deck 5, not being able to use the escalators on deck 6 to get to 5 easy at mid ship and having to use the back entrance into La Cucina Italian restaurant on deck 14. These are the only issues I can see that make it difficult for the handicapped with walking issues.

Did you know you could bring a registered service animal on board? If you travel with a service animal due to a medical reason, reach out to NCL and fill out all required forms and proof of your animal, and you can bring it aboard. NCL even has a special place where service dogs can do their business, (if you know what I mean). lol. The past 2 cruises I have been on people were using service dogs to help them out with their medical conditions. I personally think this is a wonderful thing.

Tips I have learned by cruising.

Port Side elevators light up orange
Port side elevators light up orange
  • If lost look at the carpet in the hallways. Fish always swim forward, so you know which way is the front of the ship.

  • Elevators light up different colors for which side of the ship you are on. Orange lights for port side, blue lights for starboard side.

  • If you plan on eating at specialty restaurants, always buy the specialty dinning package. Sometimes when you purchase your cruise these packages are included in the price. If it is not included in your cruise and you want to add the specialty dining package do so before the cruise starts.

  • Make reservations for tender boats, specialty restaurants, or entertainment as in shows. Make the reservations ASAP, Haven member can start making reservations before the cruise starts, but everyone else make sure you have those reservations by then end of the first day of cruise. You don't want to miss out.

  • Tips and gratuities are added to the end of cruise, unless you pay for ahead of time. I still think it is great to still tip on board at times, it will help with the drink service in real busy areas.

  • If you are a coffee drinker, ask the room steward if they have coffee pots for your room. Several NCL ships I have been on offer this to those who ask.

  • If you would like a robe for your room, just ask for it.

  • The Spa is very nice but still typically more expensive than your spa back home.

  • If you own 100 shares of NCL stock, you can get money to spend for free as an onboard credit. Click here to read my blog for more information.

  • If you don't mind opening up a credit card, you can get a few hundred dollars onboard credit, especially if you book your cruise on that card once you get approved. Contact NCL for more information.

  • Cruise Next will offer bonuses to book future cruise credits. It is a nice program but does have some fine print, like booking your cruise 4 months in advance. If you can't afford it, don't sweat it. Don't feel like you are missing out.

Pro's and Con's list of everything.

Recap of my Norwegian Epic Review- Con's List

  • Avoid buffet or included restaurants at peak times due to lack of seating. When you book a cruise that has over 4,000 people on board it will be crowded at times, just adjust your time schedule, or take the busser and wait to get seated.

  • Order 2 drinks at once because lines at any bar can be long. Extremely long at the Cascades Bar near casino.

  • I never spotted wait staff walking around the casino to take drink orders.

  • Cannot get certain drinks at certain bars. Pina Coladas can only be purchased at the pool deck. No mojitos at Shakers Bar.

  • Aft elevators cannot stop at deck 5.

  • Not enough excursions for people with disabilities, except for Cozumel. If you have a handicap that prevents you from walking a lot, book shore excursions with a 3rd party agent like Viator. Disability excursions at Cozumel were priced high, so still need to book with a 3rd party vendor for cost effectiveness.

Espresso martini
Espresso martini

The Pro list.

  • Beautiful ship, even though it has a weird layout.

  • Friendly staff, extra tips to staff go a long way.

  • NCL crew was very helpful with preparation for my mother and her disabilities.

  • Great food at many restaurants and buffet food was better than buffets I have had on other ships.

  • Plenty of activities to keep you busy.

  • The freestyle life, do and eat when you want, no reservations needed just show up at included restaurants. Sure, some people don't like the thought of having to wait, but making reservations for every dinner in the main dining room every night is just not my thing. Love that freestyle also means there is not a formal night, dress however you want for dinner within reason.

  • Great music playing all throughout the ship.

  • If you can afford the luxury, The Haven experiences are amazing, and I have not heard of a complaint.

  • You are on vacation, enjoy it.

Hilton Honors

Overall, this was a fine cruise, and I would do it again, but it is not my favorite NCL cruise ship. Weather issues cannot be helped, and it was sad to have so many rainy days but that has nothing to do with the cruise line. All throughout this cruise I heard people very upset, fussing about anything and everything, and sure there were times it was not perfect, but no cruise is perfect. There are always hiccups, but I thought the cruise line handled it great, considering all the weather-related issues. In my opinion if you go into a cruise and get upset about everything or let 1 thing send you off the deep end you are not going to have a great cruise. Go into a cruise with a positive attitude and go with the flow, don't let the negative reviews or Facebook posts stop you from having the best time you can possibly have while on vacation.

View from balcony
View from balcony

The NCL Epic may have a unique design but keep an open mind if you have this cruise booked. I am still very happy of my choice of a cruise and in this cruise line. So, pack your suitcases, sunscreen and a smile, an enjoy your vacation aboard this ship when it sails away from Port Canaveral till April and then travels to Europe. A transatlantic crossing this summer with the home port of Civitavecchia near Rome Italy, I have done the Mediterranean and it is wonderful.


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