Main menu:

Norwegian Epic “Un-Freestyle” Update

Written by:

Last week I posted an article which discussed some shortcomings of the Norwegian Epic’s show venues and reservations system.  Shortly after it was posted NCL contacted me about some errors and omissions.

I forgot to list the Howl At The Moon dueling piano show,  the Martini bar pianist, evening atrium band and movies, and also jumbled the “Legends In Concert” name.  I also overlooked some show times.  I have corrected the original article to show the proper information.   I appreciate NCL contacting me to clarify things.  I strive for accuracy, fairness, and honesty at all times.  I will also let my readers know when I have erred, and I can assure you those errors will never be deliberate.

Despite the omissions I have to stick to the premise in the original Epic article – that the Norwegian Epic cannot really be called a “freestyle” ship, at least as when compared to the other ships in the NCL fleet.  Even if a passenger attends every featured show presented during the weeklong cruise, they will not have done so on the fly.  They will have done it by adhering to their schedule of reservations.

Readers of last week’s article have responded by saying there indeed are lines for shows, confusion when the doors open, and pre-booked reservations are somehow still vanishing from the records.  It’s important to note that I am merely reporting what readers are telling me about their experiences aboard Epic.  I wish these problems weren’t happening but it seems they are.  Too many people are reporting the same problems.  One or two instances can be classified as isolated events.  When it’s more than that you have an adverse trend.

NCL told me “Our concierge will assist suite guests with their entertainment reservations, but we would never bump any guest that is already booked.”  Over the weekend I received reports that the concierge escorts suite guests into the venues via crew entrances before the main door is open for the other passengers.  So it would seem suite guests get their choice of  seats but they do need a reservation, and the concierge isn’t always able to find open seats.

The irony of the matter is the Epic entertainment is perhaps the best ever presented at sea.  It isn’t a bunch of cookie-cutter cruise ship musical revues and itinerant rock bands we are talking about here.  NCL spent a lot of time and money developing the entertainment for the Epic.  It even has it’s own Entertainment Director apart from but on par with the Cruise Director.  Hence the passengers are snapping up all available reservations and vying for the best seats.  Nobody wants to miss anything, but not everyone can see everything.

By and large, if passengers heed our advice by verifying their reservations once aboard, showing up early at the door, and not assuming they can get standby seating, they will likely not have a problem.  The shows are worth it but the passengers have to accept that they are not cruising in a “freestyle” way.

Related posts:

  1. Norwegian Epic – The Most “Un-Freestyle” Ship? By David Beers [editor: CruiseReviews] – It’s been two months since...
  2. Norwegian Epic Already Making Changes Norwegian Cruise Lines has surprised us with a few changes...
  3. Cruise News & Rumor Update Among the various cruise news items this week, we also...
  4. Why Will It Be A CruiseMates Group Cruise of Epic Proportions? Combine The Blue Man Group, Cirque Productions, Legends in Concert,...
  5. Norwegian Cruise Line Announces “Cruise Like A Norwegian” Advertising Campaign Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it is unveiling a...


Comment from Jose
Time September 10, 2010 at 6:36 am

OMG, that reply from NCL about the Suite passengers having preferential treatment and pre-seating (while I understand they paid substantially more) exhibits NCL’s elitist attitude towards those with the “money” – aka those with money to burn onboard – which I am sure NCL “LOVES.” So the other passengers are just “poor pheasants”- aka those who can’t spend a lot onboard – and NCL doesn’t give a hoot about them (little revenue) so let them fend for themselves and, too bad, they can’t get in to see a show. This is literally appalling, at this point, I refuse to travel on NCL now!

Comment from Dave Beers
Time September 10, 2010 at 7:45 am

For clarification, NCL didn’t tell me about the suite guests being seated first. That was information I received from people who have cruised on the Epic and were booked in suites. But regardless of who told me, it apparently happens. So it can also be said that the Epic is perhaps the most class-structured ship in service right now, given all the other “suite-only” areas. The suite guests can live in their own little bubble for an entire week, with private pool, hot tubs, bar, dining, all to themselves.

Comment from Jose
Time September 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

Thank you Dave for the clarification.
Design wise, notice how the suites are on the bow and ABOVE the regular deck and pool – very symbolic. Based on reviews alone, NCL continues to have logistical problems on the EPIC and with this pompous attitude – on top of all the issues the EPIC is having – the EPIC is bound to become a “white elephant” of their fleet. Companies forget that word of mouth is very powerful and the internet is a world wide communication tool – unhappy people will tell others and this is expontential. A billion dollar ship having all these unresolved problems can lead to SEVERE financial problems for NCL and, add to that, severe competition from other cruiseline with big, better, highly rated ships. But as the saying goes ” you get what you deserve!”

Comment from MagnoliaBlossom
Time September 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Well, there’s no question about whether the cruise lines read CruiseMates, now is there? I am a rabid capitalist, but the classism that is run amock on the Epic does not make me want to run out and book passage on the Epic. It kinda’ makes you wonder – what were the thinkin’ when the designed this ship

Comment from source
Time September 13, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Just got back from cruising on the Epic and I have to say NCL has designed a new way of cruising. The restaurant choices were fantastic and the entertainment was the best we have seen in over 65 cruises with many cruise lines. We paid attention and pre booked our shows and restaurant reservations and did not encounter any problems. I don’t this ship was designed to mimic the other NCL ships. We had a great time! We would sail her again. All new ships have their initial problems. I’m sure NCL is working on it. Also, towards the end of the week an announcement was made that there was space available for several of the shows.

Comment from maureen
Time September 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I was book on the 5 Feb 2011 Epic, but has since cancelled after reading all these horror comments. I was on the Pride of America on 28 Aug 2010, a friend of mine and I had pooled our money and booked a penthouse, about the only extra service we got was at check in and yes we had a butler, which was like a very upgrade roomservice. Yes the room was great but that was it. It was not worth the money. As for the shows what a joke.

Comment from Kerri
Time September 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm

When cruising on the (now renamed) Pride of Hawaii, it was made very plain that if we did not go immediately upon boarding and reserve our restaurants and times for the week, there would probably not be room for us unless we wanted to dine after 9:30 pm. Thats not ‘Freestyle cruising’.

Comment from Norm
Time September 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I sailed this past August on the Pride of America. Big mistake!
My issues with NCL began prior to the cruise. Having booked the cruise I was later informed by NCL that it had decided to charter the ship on that particular week. When I called NCL to complain I was told that if I re-booked they would pay but a part of the costs to change our flights and give us a $50. credit, which came out to less than $17 per person. As our hearts were set on this cruise I reluctantly agreed. Although this cruise is a good way to see the islands, the cruise experience is below par. My main issues were the sub-par food served in the main dining rooms, the small sized cabins and I mean small, the nightly entertainment in the main theater (except for the first show, the others were of poor quality) and the “I don’t care” attitude of some of the crew. This was my eighth cruise and my first time on an NCL ship. Based on my experience on the Pride of America, I will never again set foot aboard an NCL ship.

Comment from Carl
Time September 21, 2010 at 11:23 am

Does Jose understand Cruise lines are for profit companies trying to please their customers?

NCL has a small number of suites for which the passenger pays 2x to 5x more. For that he gets a larger room and a few perks. So you pay more and you get more, it’s a pretty common thing. If NCL did not offer it the customer’s would sail a cruise line that did. Even amoung VIP guests there are 2 or 3 levels with different service.

Should NCL get rid of the specialty resturaunts where those that pay more get better food, better service and a nicer venue? Is that not equally unfair?

When I cruise in a suite I tend to not talk about it, don’t want too much unrest from the plebes…… the suite’s not worth it, yes, that’s the ticket.

I think the Epic will become know as not a great ship to cruise. The odd rooms without bathrooms seems like a big deal. I also don’t like that there is no general theater that plays different shows. I’ve been on NCL many times and tend to skip the shows I know like Band and Circ. I could see after a few trips on the Epic being unexcited by the shows.

Comment from George
Time October 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I got to tour the “Epic Club” lounge area and see the suites for myself. They seemed smaller than what is offered throught their fleet.

Though I was in a single inside, I was given (though I don’t know why) a letter giving me VIP concierge perks. This included special entrance (which was discribed above) to the Blue Man Group. While the suite area was nice, why not spend the same money and not go on NCL???

Comment from George
Time October 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

One other side comment about the NCL Epic Suite Perks: why don’t they include all specialty meals, at all dining venues?? If these passangers are true VIP’s, this as well as free drinks should be included; like with MSC’s Yacht Club.

Write a comment