Before everyone says "You should of done your research", I did....I researched on here as the matter of fact. I read all the review - good and bad. I went in with an open mind. My friend and I booked this as a nice girls only get away & leave the husbands at home. This was her first cruise, my 3rd. Granted, I haven't been on one in a few years but I do have cruise experience.
As you all have read the Spring Breakers were OUT OF CONTROL. Yes, I know that Spring Break is in March, but since it was the first weekend I figured we would have a few. I asked around and a crew member told me it was a total of 2,800 U of F students that were on the ship. Ship was almost to capacity. I wonder if this was a cruise directly marketed to UF students. They took over everywhere - pool area, pool bars, casino, inside bars, common areas. It took me 25 minutes to get a drink at the pool bar. We finally gave up on getting drinks by the pool and stuck with Maltings in the center of the ship. Only place I didn't really see them were the speciality restaurants, which leads me to think they only were offered or purchased only the drink package. The first day at sea they literally were laying all over the pool area. You couldn't get in the pool or the hot tubs. I noticed there were higher level crew and Maritime Security guys in the pool areas on all days. I actually spoke with one of the security guys and asked if they were aware of the amount of college students that would be on board. He said yes, they were hired by NCL and the captain of the Epic. They are mostly retired police officers. That makes me think that NCL somehow directly marketed to U of F students for this cruise. Especially if they were already aware how many colleges students would be on this cruise.
Now I have only been on RCL before. I found the staff and crew not very friendly and the service lacking on the Epic. It may have been that the crew was also fed up with college kids, I'm not sure. Several servers were very short and curt with us. I witnessed several agruments between bartenders and guests at the bars. I had never experienced that before on a cruise. I never met our Steward until the 3rd day. Our room never got a towel animal. Before you all say I'm complaining about the little things - keep in mind this was my friend's first cruise and I wanted her to see all the cool towel animals the Steward leaves for you in the cabin. We had a balcony room on the deck 8. The balcony wasn't covered. Upon stepping on to the balcony I could see pieces of food left all over the deck and small table. Not exactly the cleanest balcony or room I've been in. The cabinet over the sink was dirty and I don't know if the room was even vacuumed. As for the layout - I knew how it was when I booked it. It has it's pros and cons. Great for 2 people like us. One of us took a shower, the other got ready outside the shower/toilet area. I found the room small and since our bed was closer to the door and sink area - it was very cramped. I had a balcony on RCL and found it more roomy. Also there was a noise that occured in the ceiling every night. It was never during the day. It sounded like metal scraping and it was coming from the ceiling panel right next to the sliding door. It was very annoying and I had to use ear plugs so I could sleep. In addition, the shower was so slow draining it overflowed and I had to turn off several times during showers so it would drain.
Due to the storm in the North East the seas were rough and we could not tender to Great Stirup Cay. We literally went in circles outside of the Bahamas for 2 days. Also, these were the roughest seas I've ever felt on a cruise. I was on a RCL ship, Navigator Of The Seas, when a stabilizer went out on the ship. Even that wasn't as rough as our cruise was.
The common areas were filthy. Every common bathroom I used was disgusting with stopped up toilets, toilet paper and paper towels all over the floor and trash bins overflowing. We witnessed so many people completely trashed out drunk. While in O'sheehan's one night, we had a domestic go on right behind us at the bar. It was between a woman and man in their 50s. Yelling occurred and the male half of the domestic almost came to blows with another man who was with the group this male and female were with. At no point was security called or any crew member came to intervene. I know that people drink but I really do not want to deal with heavily intoxicated people at every turn on what is suppose to be a relaxing vacation.
What is up with the obsession with Tanzanite? Every time we walked through the ship on the deck where all the shops were, we got stopped by crew asking if we got a ticket for the Tanzanite drawing. There were numerous announcements by Pedro, the cruise director, about a special sale for Tanzanite. It became very annoying. It was as if that was the only thing they cared about - that everyone on the ship was aware that Tanzanite was on sale.
Positive things were the entertainment and the activities. We caught a few of the games in the Atrium and they were fun to watch. I wish the Atrium was bigger and had more seating. The Escape Room was fun and our team won. Modesto was excellent and was the best meal we had during our cruise. The few crew that were friendly went above and beyond. The Maltings bar was the best and Alan was THE BEST bartender on the ship.
In all we did have a good time. We tried to avoid the areas where all the spring breakers congregated. Sometimes they weren't avoidable. They slept in and weren't out and about until about noon so if you got up early you could avoid them. I gave NCL Epic a try and I guess it was okay, I just prefer a different layout on ships. I really enjoyed the large atrium/common area on RCL. I did not enjoy the smoke area from the casino and don't understand why NCL made the ship so the casino was open to other areas of the ship. Next cruise I think I will take a cruise where alcohol is not inclusive in the price of the cruise. I would rather pay the extra for drinks then deal with spring breakers who are there because they got a cheap deal and unlimited alcohol. It wasn't just the spring breakers completely wasted, I saw plenty of other people who could barely walk. To me, it's just not worth it. I'll go on RCL next time. I like to have a good time and relax. When you are dealing with long bar lines, bad service, and a large amount of highly intoxicated people - vacation isn't so relaxing and you stared getting very annoyed and angry. On our last night after having dinner at Taste and trying to navigate through the hoards of college kids, we decided to spend the rest of the night in our cabin. We were fed up and beyond aggravated by the crowds, lack of manners, and bad service.