Here is my review of the Norweigan Epic Western Med cruise out of Barcelona, June 3, 2012.
This was my first cruise and a solo one I might add. I arrived (June arrived a day early June 2) in Barcelona and stayed at the W Barcelona for one night. Two thumbs up for the W! Amazing room, amazing location, amazing food...
June 3rd - made my way to the Port of Barcelona to embark the Norweigan Epic. What an amazing and overwhelming site to see when I arrived at port. Being my first cruise, I did not know, fully, what expect. WOW! Embarkation was swift and easy. I arrived a little early so my room was not yet ready. No worries. I took this time to walk around the ship to get my bearings. Very easy to navigate. :) Rooms were available approximately 1 pmish. I was impressed with the studio room. Very spacious for one person. Lots of storage. Very comfortable. There was a solo travelers meet and greet in the studio cabins' living room this evening (and every evening). Approximately 15 people showed up for this and we all went to dinner at Manhattans. It was great to make connections with others from the UK, the US, etc..
June 4th - sea day - basically lounged on the pool deck. Very crowded. Get your chaises early! Breakfast and lunch at the buffet. LOTS to choose from so there shouldn't be any complaints food-wise as far as I'm concerned. Went to see Blue Man Group this evening. I had seen them before years ago and can say they did not disappoint. Amaaaazing show!
June 5th - Naples - I took part in the Pompeii/Mt Vesuvius tour via Norweigan. It was excellent but definitely physical. It was interesting to learn the history behind the city of Pompei. The hike up Mt. Vesuvius was excellent yet not recommended for those who are not physically able. It is a steep uphill climb. Approx. 20 min up from where the bus drops you off. Beautiful views of the Bay of Naples from the summit/crater. This evening I went to see the Slam Allen Blues Band at the Fat Cats lounge/bar - two thumbs for them!
June 6th - Civitavecchia (Rome) - I had previously been to Rome therefore I opted for the bike tour of Tarquinia via Noweigan. One word: AWESOME! Loved it. Again, not for those who are not particularly physically fit. It was an uphill climb before it got easier. But the town, the views...loved it! Then a short bike ride to a farm house for a light lunch and local wine before getting on the bus back to port. This night, I met up with some other solo travellers and we hit the Bliss Lounge for karaoke night. Great time!
June 7th - Livorno (Florence/Pisa) - again I had previously been to both Pisa and Florence so I opted for a half day Tuscany countryside tour and wine tasting tour with Norweigan. Again...amazing! The villa, Verramista, and its grounds were beautiful. The tour of the wine cellars was worthy. The wine tasting was excellent. They did not scrimp...Full plates of antipasto, bread, olive oil and tasting of 4 different local wines. Two thumbs up! This evening, I went to Fat Cats to see a motown band play. Very entertaining.
June 8th - Cannes - did this on my own. Took the ferry from port to the Ile Marguarite to see Fort Royal (also a heritage site). FYI - Fort Royal is where the man in the iron mask was held in prison. Lots of history here and great views of Cannes from the island. Then took the ferry back to Cannes and walked up to Musee de la Castre (again, all steep uphill walk). Great views of the port of Cannes. Then "window shopped" along le rue de Croisette and actually shopped for a few items along le rue Antibes. Stopped at a beachside cafe for some lunch before making my way back to port to get back on the ship for a busy evening. Did the Cirque Dreams Dinner show - excellent. However, I would recommend that if you wish to see this show that you pay the premium fee of $25 rather than the standard fee in order to get the best seats in the "tent". I then went to see Legends in Concert which was great entertainment and I recommend seeing. And then went back to Fat Cats to end the evening with more blues by the Slam Allen Blues Band (have I mentioned how great there were?)
June 9th - Marseille - Did the Norweigan tour Bandol and Castelette. Tour took us through the city of Marseille (reminded me of Paris) and then into the countryside of Provence (beautiful, vineyard after vineyard)and to the seaside resort town of Bandol. It was still early therefore shops weren't open but we had an hour to walk along the harbour and into town for photo ops. Then back on the bus to the hiillside town of Castelette. We spent an hour here as well to walk around the hillside town which was beautiful with great views of the countryside of Provence. This evening I had dinner at one of the premium restaurants: Moderno Churrascaria (brazilian) with another solo traveller, Emily from the UK. Two thumbs up for this restaurant! I certainly had my fill of meat this evening! Ended the evening by ordering some of the photos taken by the ship photographers (extra $$) and then back to my room to pack. Ho hum.
June 10th - Barcelona - debarked the ship and took a taxi straight to the airport. Sadly :(
A few things I learned (being that it was my first cruise):
1) Internet package $55+ for 1.5 hrs - I wouldn't do this again as I left with 20 min plus of minutes left. Next time, I would do by the minute. I only used the internet cafe to update my facebook page to let people know where I was and that I was still alive.
2) Soft Drink package - I purchased the soft drink package upon embarkation as I thought it would be more beneficial to me being a pop drinker. I determined at the end of my trip that I actually paid too much with the package ($65). I did not drink $65 worth of pop during the week. Water and juice were included. Pop was $2.10 each.
3) Alcohol, as you know, is not included. Prices are similar to what you'd pay in a bar at home. I didn't anticipate drinking as much wine as I did, so would recommend that you order either a wine package or a bottle or two (or three) for the week. For beer drinkers, they offered buckets of beer for discounted rates.
4) I did not step foot into the casino other than to walk through it - so can't comment on that.
Other: Staff were amazing! Room attendant, Romeo, was great and attentive. Bar and wait staff were attentive and fun pool side and in restaurants.
I have absolutely no complaints about the cruise and can't wait to do another with either Epic or the new Breakaway!