After having gone on multiple cruises over the years, this 51 single male decided to go on my first European Cruise on the Norwegian Epic, and I was not disappointed.
First off, a tip of the hat to O'Sheehan's bartender Rommel from Manila and RogeLisa from dining services as they truely expemplified the Best of the Best in terms of service, helpfullness, attentiveness and overall work ethic. They really made my experience a special one, so if any crew members are reading this, tell them "Mr. Eric" gives them a Big "Thumbs Up!" Also, Reggie, my Studio cabin steward was extremely freindly as well, and all of them continued to use my name throughout the cruise, which really makes a difference in being made to feel "special."
Overall, I had done the research on this cruise and knew exactly what to expect. The highlights were the 3 Italian ports of call: Naples, Rome & Florence. I went with a private tour group of 8 that had been organized by the Harris Family out of Rhode Island, and with RomeinLimo.com, I was not disappointed. In fact, I am going out of my way here to say how professional, courteous and wonderful all the drivers and tourguides were from this company, not to mention the fact that we all saved bundles of money by going through them rather than the overpriced NCL tours.
And here I will tell you the story of "Mike," a romeinlimo driver who guided us around Rome for a wonderful day. At the Vatican, I got lost in St. Peter's Square after turning to snap a photo, and turning back my group was gone! It would've been a $350 cab ride back to the ship, but I hung around a taxi stand exit, and Mike came to rescue me! Thanks Mike!
The fact that you travel in air-conditioned Mercedes vans vs. NCL's mega buses is probably the biggest difference in the quality of your experience, and definitely worth the time it take to organize a group before you go on romeinlimo/sharing.com. That being said, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii Tour, Collesseum, Tuscany Wine Tasting and San Gianamgo experiences were the best I've ever had, on any cruise.
The ship is what you would expect it to be with over 4000 passengers, it's basically "Vegas" on the water, with the Casino being the focal point on deck 6. The dining rooms (Taste & Manhatten) were more than wonderful, although I prefer the intimacy of Taste over the expansiveness of Manhatten. Saw the Blue Man Group, it was funny to a point, but I left early as I've seen this kind of shctick before. Cannes was nothing special in my opinion, Marseilles I wish I had taken the Aix and Provence Tours, but decided to relax and get some sun near the minature pool & hot tup at the rear of the ship on deck 15 (H20) - for adults only, AND appreciated, as the rug rats ran with abandon near the Splash Pool Bar amidship.
My home away from home was O'Sheehan's Pub, they have excellent fish & ships, cheeseburgers, and the meatloaf was to die for! All complimentary, of course. I wound up spending around $500 for drinks throughout the 6 days onboard, and didn't mind the $12 service fee charged daily as it was warrented. Would I do this same cruise again? Probably not, but not because I didn't enjoy myself thoroughly, but because I will probably go with a Royal Carribean cruise next time around as I appreciate a more traditional ship style that doesn't try to wring every nickle & dime out of you on your vacation. All in all, an 8 out of 10 experience for me...well done, Epic Staff & especially the crew from Rome in Limo! By all means, book them, you won't be sorry!