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Linda

Age: 56

Occupation:Admin

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Epic

Sailing Date: 2014-05-18

Itinerary: Eastern Mediterranean

This is a self service, buffet style, canned cruise. Anything you want you will need to be prepared to get yourself. freestyle cruising means you can eat at the buffet, or pay extra to eat somewhere else. Yes, there are two other non-charged restaurants with mediocre food and really difficult and ever-changing opening hours. Do not plan on engaging with an honest and forthcoming cruise consultant if you are booking through NCL. Do not plan on service of any type while on board the ship. The answer will always be "I'm sorry sir/madame". There is a fee for everything, except air. Night time entertainment, the kids program, the ice bar, bowling, etc., all comes with a fee. We paid $40 USD for two of us to play bingo along with approximately 150 other people. There were three games with an average prize of $120 per game.

The ports were nice, although the cruise itinerary changed after booking. They did not feel the need to advise us of this. We found out when trying to book our shore excursions.

Remember that your "service fee" or tip is automatic and non-negotiable. There is no reason for staff to offer excellent service, they are getting paid no matter what.

I do not recommend this cruise to anyone other than a first time cruiser.

Repetitive on the buffet. Same thing every day for breakfast and lunch. Alternate venues are not generally available during lunch time. The pay to go to restaurants were markedly better, although Teppenyaki was the only one that stood out above the norm. Midnight buffets, desserts that make you ooh and ahh were not present anywhere. Generally, the same food you get at the average restaurant at home.

We had a family mini-suite. It was more mini than suite, but that was not a huge surprise on a cruise. The bath is odd, right at the door, and completely see-through.

Our coffee pot did not work and after three requests was never corrected. We resorted to room service coffee. Order twice as much as you want to get the right amount.

There was left over food and dirty glasses in the refrigerator from the previous guest(s).

Our mini-bar refreshments were located in a pillow case under our bed. (Seriously - I can't make this stuff up!)

Totally self-serve here. You had to read all of the fine print on the daily print out, which wasn't always correct and sometimes had stuff for today and tomorrow on it. Very confusing. Most of the evening entertainment is in the bars, and not where we wished to be with our child. Blue Man Group was fantastic. Cirque was very good, but was $40 per person extra. Other than that, there were generally no family oriented night time entertainment items. We could have placed our child in "Splash" but there was, of course, a fee for that. The bowling alley has 3 lanes, and there is a fee. The rock wall, etc. are on the top deck and are open limited hours due to high winds, generally during the day in port, when everyone is out on shore excursions. The good news is there is no fee for this.

If you MUST go on this cruise, don't miss Blue Man or Cirque. Pack snacks. Pack tons of patience and low expectations.

Do not book a tour in Rome through the line. Book privately - you will see more, hear more, and have a better experience. Skip Palma de Mallorca if you go there.

Book your own transport to/from the port. Taxi is approximately 25 Euro and NCL charges $30 USD per person AND you have to load/unload your own luggage.

Do not pay for the "all you can drink" packages; we simply were not on board enough to make the cost realistic.

We enjoyed our ports of call and made the best of this very expensive lesson. On board, it became a game to spot the next deception, insult, fee, or lack of service. We knew it would be a cruise to remember on our first night when we asked a wait staff member at the dinner buffet what time the shops would open. They replied "I don't really know". We asked if they could tell us what level the shops are on, so we can check (there are no maps provided for this ship). They replied "I don't know - I only work here in the buffet". And so it went. Fees for so many items that on my previous cruises were included, such as dinner venues, and shows.

I would not recommend this cruise to anyone.

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