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Sonia Barinas

Age: 65

Occupation:Conference interpreter

Number of Cruises: 35

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Epic

Sailing Date: 2013-10-20

Itinerary: Transatlantic

I've been on numerous cruises with several cruise lines, including a 16-day transatlantic on the Norwegian Star and Caribbean cruises on the Norwegian Star and the Norwegian Spirit, which I enjoyed very much, so I was shocked by the appallingly bad quality of entertainment, food, and service on the Epic.

The beef and steamed vegetables were great, but unless you are prepared to eat that twice a day, the fare was a great disappointment. The lobster was overcooked and dried out. The duck was undercooked and bloody The lamb was good one day and dry the next. They even managed to overcook and dry out the salmon.

The cabin was small, but efficiently designed with ample storage space. The balcony was larger than on the Norwegian Spirit or Norwegian Star.

There were only 2 main-stage productions + a birthday-party-level magician and a third-rate hypnotist for the entire 13 nights, instead of the nightly shows on all other cruise ships I have sailed on.

When I complained about the lack of entertainment to guest services, I was told: "You need to get a hobby so you don't have to depend on others to entertain you."

Additionally, the sound equipment was such poor quality that it kept on breaking down. They couldn't even keep the karaoke machine going, which broke down after a few nights and was never repaired.

Appallingly bad service, indifferent management, and low-cost entertainment seem to rule on the Epic.

Moreover, the Epic is very cramped. The public spaces are few, poorly designed, and therefore uncomfortably crowded. For example, the so-called jogging track is a thin strip on one side of the ship, wedged between the lifeboats and the kitchen exhaust fans, with a single track each way and no view, no room for passing, and greasy kitchen vapors blasting out over your head. Likewise, unlike all other cruise ships I've sailed on, there was a $198 fee for use of the steam room and/or sauna during the cruise, which I found outrageous.

Additionally, empty bottles of beer and assorted trash could be found throughout the ship. When, after numerous complaints and a particularly nasty bit of trash left on the shuffleboard court overnight, I tried to leave a message for the hotel manager, the response by guest services was "The ship looks clean enough to me."

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