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    st thomas

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  1. Definitely some interesting responses to this post and i do agree with some of the comments that people tend to post more negative review than positive, but thats for a reason. I never expect perfection from a cruise, but we've been cruising long enough to know what to expect and have and idea of what the baseline service should be which the Epic failed in most areas. That being said, even through this was a less expensive cruise, we still spent well over $8k for the 2 balcony cabins, air, on board account charges, pre hotel, etc and felt that we did not get our moneys worth and thats why i think you get more negative reviews vs. positive. $8k isn't a trivial amount of money. If you were to purchase a new car and it was a lemon, would you go out and purchase the same car or even purchase from the same car company? And you would probably tell other people what a bad car it is. Same concept here...
  2. The frustrating part is we have been on Epic before and had a great time so it didnt always have bad service, they have just let it go downhill over the years.
  3. thanks for the reply. The room layout made it a bit cramped to walk around, but there was a ton of storage. We cruised Epic in 2013 so we knew what the room was like and that really wasnt an issue for us. Now, i will say, our kids room where we had the beds separated was somewhat of an issue for them given the space between the beds was maybe a couple inches with the cured shape of that area where on RCL, they were able to put a nightstand between the beds which gave them more 'apart' space. But if your not separating the beds, its a non issue. If i was to said Epic again, which we wont, the room layout wouldn't be a deterrent for us.
  4. I got my cruise surveys today and was surprised to see multiple questions about cruise critic. Do you know about it, do you use it pre cruise, do you write reviews. So NCL is paying attention to this site.
  5. How do you know its not typical on Epic? We were also on Getaway and had one of our best cruises as well, but not on our last Epic cruise. Im also surprised we are stuck on the Ice comment when aside from that, not separating the beds, not giving us enough towels, etc, he just decided he needed to pack the last night and not make up our room at all. So, ok, i get it, we got a bad cabin steward, it happens, but overall service was lacking on that ship.
  6. In regards to Stirrup cay snorkeling, as you are looking out over the water, to the right there is a gap between the main island and a very small 'island'. Probably about 50 feet wide. The water is about 20ft deep and perfectly clear. Lots of fish and a great reef. Also a very good view of the ship if its anchored in the same place.
  7. B No issues there. We got there around 11, and were on the ship around 12. we were card number 17 and it took about an hour to get to that number which isnt bad. We had a hard time hearing the numbers being called, but that was probably because where we were sitting.
  8. Im not sure thats a fair assessment, 'its easier to gripe than to praise' Below is my review of our Getaway cruise where i gave it very high marks. I tell it like it is on these ships and this one was just bad. Take the cabin steward out of the equation, we still had bad service from the wait staff and bar tenders and based on some of the comments, i dont think its unique to us.
  9. Thanks for everyone replys and my wife reminded me of a couple of things i didnt mention in my original review that may be helpful to others. Flight times - We were concerned about making our 12:20 flight out of Orlando on Saturday when we returned. I was getting concerned when i woke up at 6:15 am and we were just docking, but once docked, they started letting people that were carrying their own luggage off the ship around 7ish which i thought was pretty quick to clear customs. We bent the rules a bit and got off with the folks carrying their bags and were directed to a holding area until our bag color was ready. We maybe waited 20 minutes before they allowed us in the baggage area. There were quite a few others that did this with early flights. Once we had our bags and got on the road, we arrived at the airport about 2 hours early which was good because security at Orlando is long. Bottom line, a 12ish flight is doable, but cutting it close if you dont get off as early as you can. Transportation - We debated this quite a bit before the cruise and decided to rent a car at Orlando airport then park it for the week at the port. We did this for 2 reasons. We had a lot of luggage and were concerned that if got a Taxi/uber, it wouldn't be big enough. Think 8 bags and 4 people... We were also concerned that turning in the car at port Canaveral and either getting another one and/or finding a taxi that would accommodate all of our baggage could be a issue when we arrived and we didnt have time to spare given the flight time above. Our guesstimate was doing this cost us about $100-150 more than an uber or other transportation would cost given we did arrive a day early and would need several taxi's / ubers to get to and from the hotel, port, etc.
  10. No, it was our 5th NCL cruise. epic 2013, Getaway 2016 and Epic last week. The other two were on the Norway a long time ago, but given how long ago that was and the type of ship, i dont use that in my comparison. Like i said in the post above, the 2013 epic was great and the reason we went on getaway in 2016. Last week was just awful though. Hopefully the bad /' understaffed service was just epic and not a company wide issue.
  11. Sorry, correct, Great Stirrup Cay. Must have Cocoa beach on the brain... Again, great private island. Not as big as Labadee but seemed less crowded for some reason.
  12. We were on the Epic western Caribbean cruise last week and my plan was to make a comparison between that cruise and the RCL oasis cruise we were on in Aug. but the Oasis has it beat in every category with the exception of overall cost of the cruise so ill give some highlights of our not so Epic cruise last week. What went right. Itinerary was great and the main reason we picked the cruise. Coco Key – Snorkeling was great once you found the right spot. It was easy to find lounge chairs and there were plenty of places for the kids to explore. Jamaica – not one of favorite ports so we booked an all day excursion so we weren’t wondering around town. We did the Dolphin swim and duns river climb tour and both were great. We did a Dolphin swim in Cozumel a couple cruises, but liked this one better. They let you interact more with the dolphins and there was more to do at the resort area after the swim. Dunns was pretty fun as well, although our 12yo was a little hesitant about the climb but once we started doing it, he was fine. Overall, great way to spend the day in Jamaica. Grand Cayman – There were 6 ships in GC when we were there so do the math on the number of people in town that day… We did the sunken Ship snorkel tour which was also good, but a little deep to Snorkel. We could see if fine, but it was a little too deep to hold your breath and dive down to. Definitely on our bucket list to scuba dive when our kids are certified. That took most of the day so we did a tiny bit of shopping and then back to the ship. Another great day. Cozumel – One of our favorite islands. We did Snuba which the kids loved. We have done it before so everyone had an idea of what to do which made it even easier and more enjoyable for our youngest given it wasn’t his first time so he was more relaxed. After that we had lunch on the water, did a bit a shopping, and then back the ship. Also, the port where the ship docks has a great shopping area. Think outdoor mall. Very clean, restrooms, great stores. Probably not the cheapest place to shop on the island, but had everything we wanted and the prices weren’t bad. What went wrong Ok, so if you are a diehard NCL cruiser, you may want to stop here because this is going to get ugly. Room Steward - This was the first cruise that we actually had a bad cabin steward. Not that all of the other ones were perfect on our 20+ past cruises which I wouldn’t expect, but this one just didn’t give a you know what. We had 2 balcony cabins side by side, one for us and one for our 2 kids. We asked him to separate the beds when he made the up for the night which he said no problem. We even left him a note on the bed before we went to dinner and when we returned ready to put the kids to bed, the beds were not separated. He responded to our note with another note telling us to call a number to get them separated. When we called, they said they would do it in the morning which was not acceptable so after some arguing, they finally sent someone up to do it. Ok, so bad taste in our mouth on day 1, but we figured, that would be it. Nope, he only left 1 towel in the boys room on multiple occasions, no ice was ever filled in either room, sometimes we would get a next day itinerary on our beds, but usually only in 1 room, not both. Icing on the cake was on the last day, he informed us that he would not make up our room that night because he had to pack to get off the ship in the morning. So no clean towels and no info on disembarkation the next morning. I know there will be a lot of comments on why we didn’t complain, and my wife and I did contemplate that, but decided to do it after the cruise given he has access to a lot of our belongings that would not fit into the safe. Laptops, ipads, cell phones, etc. Overall service – Some of the crew members did admit that they were short staffed, but it was also pretty obvious. One of the three sides was closed because they didn’t have anyone to operate it, bar staff was way understaffed, especially at the pool area. We waited close to 30 minutes to get a drink at the main bar and on sea days, it was sometimes 3 people deep just get to the bar to order something. Bar staff walking around and taking drink orders was almost nonexistent. We were asked 1 time if we wanted a drink from someone walking around. Restaurants were not much better. They were also short staffed and servicing way too many tables. We ate at the MDR once given it took close to 3 hours to get through the courses. My wife and I could handle it, but the kids got restless. Restaurants – We bought the 3 specialty restaurant package and had a hard time using it because everything was booked. We found out that on day 1, people would book multiple restaurants each night and just show up for the one they wanted. Give that and the short staff, it was really hard to get in anywhere. Construction – I never thought this would end up in one of my reviews but they were doing construction on the ship which closed off a good portion of the pool deck. I believe it was where the putt putt golf area was. I know there are necessary things that need to be done on the ship, but thanksgiving week with a lot of kids sailing probably isn’t the week to do whatever they were doing. Summary I think its obvious that we had a bad experience on Epic and I don’t think we are being overly critical because we sailed on Epic on 2013 and had a wonderful experience so the service level on NCL has either gotten really bad over the years or this cruise was just a fluke. The only positive was it was considerably less expensive than our Oasis cruise in August but you get what you pay for. I wouldn’t say we will never sail NCL again because itinerary is very important to us so we may have to, but they will be way down on the list when we look at a cruise for next year. Im happy to answer any questions and would like to hear from someone else on Epic last week to hear their experience.
  13. Just got off Epic western Caribbean today and sound like a complete opposite from your experience. Probably the worst service we have every had on a cruise and we have been on quite a few. I have to calm down and gather my thoughts before i write a review on this one...
  14. Just got off Epic today and it was a nightmare getting dinner reservations. Rumor was they didnt have enough servers which i tend to believe because when we walked by all of the 'sold out' restaurants, most were half empty. We bought the 3 specialty dinner package and hard a hard time using all three. My advise would be book the 3 on your package the minute you get on the ship.
  15. Does anyone know if a Verizon cell phone will work at see? I know it would expensive, but there is an important call i need to make during one of our sea days. We will be on Epic thanks
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