I discovered early on that I prefer days at sea as opposed to frantic port stops, so the Transatlantic voyage on Norwegian Epic was perfect for me. 11 days, only one Port visit. When I first booked this trip,I looked all over for tips and/or reviews to glean what the crossing might be like with limited success. So here I share my experience. I am new to cruising, and have moderate travel experience. I have spent 3 months in Brazil, 14 days in France, multiple trips to Mexico, Bahamas, Alaska and US.
I took advantage of the Epic's new studio staterooms designed for single travel. I was worried that I would feel claustrophobic without a balcony. I needn't of been concerned! I loved the room - never once felt closed in. The service on the Epic is excellent. The food options wonderful. 11 days at sea and not once did I feel the quality of the food was compromised. I also ate @ Cagneys, Le Bistro, and La Cucina and had excellent food and service at all three. For entertainment, everyone I spoke to shared my opinion that Cirque Dreams and Dinner was fantastic (the show, not so much the dinner!). 2nd City show is definitely worth it, and that Blue Man Group, sadly, missed the mark. I heard from some young people that they were disappointed with the night life.
I booked a shored excursion in Funchal, Portugal - 'Eira Do Serrado and Monte with Cable Car. Very nicely done. I am not an 'excursion' kind of traveler - I resent the cattle car structure that most invoke - however, this really was informative and beautiful.
The weather: I did not know what to expect, and so figured that it would be cool on the Atlantic Ocean in April. Some of my fellow travelers expressed disappointment that it wasn't 75 degrees everyday. The reality is that the weather can be anything from sunny/poolside heaven, to 35 ft seas and 50 mph winds. This particular trip featured much more of the later. Be prepared for both. We got our butts kicked for a couple of days - as far as I am concerned, it was all part of the trip.
Negatives: I was pick-pocketed at the Atlanta airport en route to the cruise. I lost cash and my debit card. This is 0700 on a Saturday. You can cancel your cards, but there is no way that you can get access to your bank account. I don't have credit cards and without my debit, I was screwed. Norwegian was NOT helpful at all. Thankfully, a friend was able to send me cash via Western Union BEFORE I got on the ship - otherwise - it would have been a very different trip.
Norwegian is famous for great fares and service and then nickel and diming you the whole trip. So, if you have no money - you don't drink anything but tap water, coffee, tea, milk and juice. Even soda and bottled water are an expense.
Not that this is not doable, just that most people prefer a bit more freedom on their vacation. Also - since we arrived in Barcelona on a National Holiday, I couldn't even have money wired and waiting for me there. Hence, I would have had no way to get from the Port to my lodging. There is NO WAY to get money wired to the ship. Period.
Another area for the budget traveler to beware of is the Spa. Know that it will ALWAYS cost more that you think. My $146 'sale' treatment ended up costing $190. Just know that this is the way it is when making plans.
I loved this trip and plan on doing it again!