My husband and myself have wanted to go on the NCL Epic since its launch and so we booked it for June this year. We booked a mini suite cabin on the 7 night med cruise. Our cabin was just lovely and there was plenty of storage and space to move around. The room and all areas of the ship are very clean and NCL insists on a very high standard of hygiene, which was great to see.
The embarkation process was extremely quick and we were on the ship within a few minutes of arrival at the port in Barcelona. NCL have it down to a fine art. Once on-board we went to explore. The ship is amazing. You could never run out of things to do. The spa was offering free samples of services and a discount if you booked that first day. The thermal suite is fantastic and we used it a few times throughout the week. Most of the staff we met throughout the week were lovely. The bar staff and drink staff by the pool could sometimes be a little abrupt.
The entertainment on board is what made this cruise for us. The Blue man group, Cirque dinner and the Legends concert are all must-sees. The Headliners bar and Fat Cats jazz lounge are also very good. We made good use of the water slides, rock climbing wall and bowling which incurred an extra charge.
The food on-board was fantastic and if I have any advice it's to stick with the two main dining rooms- Taste and the Manhattan room. We paid to eat at the Teppanaki and in Cagney's. Both were fine but nothing special and by the time you factor in the cost of wine it was expensive to eat in these restaurants. If I cruise with NCL again I will only pay to dine at the Cirque show and here you pay for the show not the dinner. For food during the day we ate at O Sheehan's and the Garden Cafe. Both were very good.
The ports of call on this cruise are good. We booked this cruise for the ship not the ports of call. We got off at some destinations and Pisa was definitely my favourite. Tip for Livorno; don't pay NCL for the excursion. A car is â‚¬90 for the day and they have booths at the port when you get off the ship. In fact all excursions on this cruise were extortionate and you would get much better value if you do your research before you go and price around. The port in Marseille is vast and a good 10-15 minutes drive to the centre of the city. NCL charged everyone who took their shuttle bus $14.99 each for this short journey. You really have little choice but to pay this if you want to see Marseille.
We found this cruise very expensive. Once you get on-board if you start spending, the money quickly adds up. We paid for a water package which was 6 bottles of water which cost around â‚¬25. We also got the soda package. The spa was $30 a day per person for use of the thermal suite. Any drinks are quite expensive. Everything on-board is priced in dollars. No euros. So don't get caught with no cash! The atm on the ship will only dispense dollars and NCL charge to change it to euros at the desk. This was something we didn't know before we went on the cruise. I presumed that because the ship was in Europe the currency on-board would be in euros but this is not the case so bring enough cash for the ports of call.
There are staff on-board that take pictures of you throughout the week and you can buy the prints or a digital cd. Of course everyone wants the pictures and we bought a digital cd of our photos but again the price was far too much.
Disembarkation was as smooth and as quick as getting on. We chose to walk of with our bags and this was a straight walk of the ship to the taxi rank, which only took a few minutes.
We enjoyed the ship very much but the obvious overpricing of drinks and services tarnished our overall experience. I don't know if we will cruise with NCL again. We kind of felt that once they had you on board their only objective was to take as much money of you as possible. I feel if things were fairly priced you would be more likely to spend. We did not enjoy the feeling of being ripped off at every turn!