We had an excellent time on this cruise. We chose the itinerary because after several short cruises in the Bahamas, we wanted to re-visit Europe after many years. A cruise gives you the convenience of getting you to each of the ports with no unpacking. Of course there is the trade-off- a single day for Rome (really not even that long when you take in time to get there from the port and the fact you have to be back at the ship by 6 PM) doesn't give much time. However this cruise gives you a chance to sample 3 different countries, and we were glad we took it.
Barcelona is a great port to leave from. We arrived a day early just be be safe, and it was helpful in overcoming jet lag from an overseas trip. The port is incredibly convenient to the major central plaza - Plaza Catalunya - we stayed at the NH Calderon Hotel on Rambla de Cataluna which was wonderfully convenient to La Rambla and all the action, however the service was middling. Still a good choice. We used the Airport bus to get to the plaza from the airport, just over 5 Euros pp, and we took a cab to get to the port, maybe 15 Euros.
Everything about the Epic was pretty great except the pool area is a disappointment. The pools are small and not very attractive. Wasn't that important to us but families might have expected more. However this leaves lots of room for lounge chairs, which were very popular. Often they had entertainment poolside which was fun, especially the sail away party the first evening.
Our room was fine. It is cramped moving between the bed and all the cabinets but can be done. We had a balcony which we really enjoyed.
We did several of the special events. We saw Blue Man Group (I loved it, my husband tolerated it.) Legends was good but not phenomenal, still worth seeing. The Cirque program was excellent and the food, about which I had read some bad reviews, was very good.
However the entertainment we enjoyed the most was Slam Allen, a fellow who heads up a blues band. We went to hear them most evenings after dinner. They had quite a following. I believe they are taking a break for a few months but rejoining the Epic after it returns to the Caribbean this fall.
We didn't go to the extra-charge dining restaurants figuring that we would rather spend the extra money in the real countries! But we were more than happy with the offerings at the 3 included restaurants and at the buffet.
Of our excursions, the best was Cinque Terre, out of the Livorno port. This involves a bus ride to Cinque Terre, which is a series of 5 villages perched on the hills overlooking the Mediterrean -- plus some walking, two different ferry rides and a train ride! If you have trouble getting around, this is not a good tour, but if you are physically able it was beautiful and worth doing.
Yes we would go on the Epic again, or any other Norwegian Cruise ship.