Having been on several cruises now I have to say that the Epic is not my favourite. I think the younger generations might find it hyped and fun with crowds and noise but we couldn't find a quiet place outside of our stateroom and balcony. No promenade deck was a big disappointment, just a one-way return jogging strip, top deck was open air but the space seemed smaller than on other ships, could be that there are just too many people filling it up. The music was blaring so loud up there that we couldn't eat or drink outside and carry on any kind of conversation.
On two different occasions in the library bar I was next in line for service and both times overlooked for the next, younger, person in line, I've never experienced this anywhere in my life. They need to train their barmen to be polite to the older travelers (I'm 65 years old, not exactly at the doddling stage yet). I don't think they even register that you're there unless you are under 40.
We were disappointed that the mini bar is not replenished each day, even when we left an order form on our desk before heading out at 7:30 am. for our tours. Returning from a long hot day leads to disappointment when the much anticipated cold drink isn't there. I called room service and told them of my plight so they delivered the drinks to us. Trying to get one of the charges dismissed by phone resulted in being told I had to report in person to Guest Services where I was met with by a most uncharming lady who told me I shouldn't be calling room service for drinks. She did remove the $15.00 charge (this was for one bottle of Pellegrino and two cans of tonic water, not cheap!).
The room service people were fabulous. As we were going on tours most days we had to be on the dock by 7:45 a.m. and so had room service for our breakfast (nothing hot on the menu which was disappointing but the fruit and yogurt was fine.) The people who delivered the trays and the people who took our orders were lovely. We always received a call asking if it arrived and was it all fine. Very nice!
The welcome back to the ship each day was wonderful. They greeted us with beautiful smiles, even some of the officers were there, and nice cold drinks of lemonade and water, cool face cloths, and happy chat, we loved that.
The food on the ship was excellent. We loved the Manhattan Room, our waitress ( Yera, or Hera, very wonderful on every count), the food was great and the entertainment was always just perfect. Also the Garden Cafe buffet up top was amazing, and the food at O Sheehans was superb for the touch of traditional pub style dining. We didn't use the 'pay for' restaurants as we were very happy with the included restaurants.
The cabin was the smallest I've ever experienced on a ship. The curved ends of the bed left my husband's legs hanging over the sides, not good. The frosted glass shower and separate frosted glass toilet enclosure were a little unnerving. If room service was delivering breakfast they walked right past you, the privacy issue is lacking for sure.
We booked our Italian shore tours with Share a Shore Excursion in Italy. I highly reccommend this company to anyone wishing great tours, reasonable prices, excellent vans for 8 people (two of them were Mercedes), and all three of our drivers were absolutely fabulous. The tours not only included the described sights but they also added so much more. For instance, on our Pisa/Lucca tour our driver David helped 3 of us find a bike rental so we could ride along the top of the medieval wall surrounding the city, awesome! He also took us to a winery for wine sampling, a tour, and lunch. We arranged it with Oana the lovely company contact person who emails with you to set up your tour just the way you'd like it before you leave home. In Rome we had skip the line tickets for the coliseum and the Vatican. We also had an extraordinary guide named Max to take us through the Vatican. Our driver Manny then took us to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and so many other Roman sights, far more than I dared hope that we could actually see in a day. And who wouldn't love our driver Carlos who took us to Pompeii, Sorento, and Positano, the home of the now disgraced captain of the cruise ship Concordia. Positano, by the way, is one of the most picturesque little villages I have ever seen, as is the gorgeous Amalfi drive to get there. Carlos was a lot of fun, very witty, great stories, with lots of stops for photos.
We were met at the ship each morning, it was easy to find them, and we spent wonderful days on each tour.We loved the flexibility of this company and we made some lovely friendships amongst the 8 passengers. 5 stars for Share a Shore Excursions in Italy!!
We didn't take a tour out of Cannes but we did hop on their little sightseeing train at the dock where the tender dropped us off. It's an hour long tour winding throughout the city, Cannes is very pretty, and quite prominently part of the film events from around the world.
We booked a ship excursion from Marseilles and saw Les Baux des Provence. This was a good choice, it's not only a very picturesque medieval village but also very interesting. We enjoyed the 4 hour tour very much.
Barcelona is well worth spending at least 2 days for, 3 is even better. The hop on hop off buses are the way to go, there is so much to see, fabulous really.
Sorry for the long diatribe, once my memory goes back it's almost like being there all over again. Thanks for allowing me to re-live this almost perfect trip, it really was wonderful.