This was our 6th cruise, 2nd with NCL and our first time in Europe.
We spent 2 days in Rome at a hotel, Relais 6, before embarking on a Wednesday morning. The hotel arranged our ride to the port.
The Epic is a phenomenal ship. I was very impressed with the size, the ease of getting around and the wonderful stateroom with unbelievable storage space. This was our first experience with the split bathroom and we loved it. The room size was perfect for us as we do not spend any time at all in it except to sleep! And why spend for a balcony on this particular cruise since 6 out of 7 days you are at a port with something to go see? All in all it was a wonderful cruise with a few 'bumps'.
My little annoyances:
I was not aware, until reading the Cruise Critic boards, that this cruise was not your typical everyone embarks and disembarks at the same time. It seems the "main" port on this cruise was Barcelona. I was a little let down that since we embarked for our cruise in Rome, there was no big sail away as on other cruises when you all get on at the same time...oh, it was mentioned in the Daily paper, but when we went up there we did not see many people at all. The cruise was geared for those that got on in Barcelona... "Welcome to day 4 of your cruise", when it was day 1 for us. I did not appreciate that the internet was shut down to us because of the disembarkation in Barcelona.....we were not leaving and I paid for access while on the ship. (And the people embarking in Barcelona had a reception of balloons welcoming them on board... I was jealous) :-(
If there was only one mishap, I would not even mention it. But it seems the staff needs to be more aware of what the people are being told. We tried to do the ship's tour our first day. We, along with several other couples, were waiting in the Atrium - the place mentioned to meet for this tour -- and no one showed up to take us on the tour. When we went to Guest services and asked, they called, and was told the tour had started.....from the Bliss Lounge! The girl explained that is where it usually starts so she just took the 2 people that showed up there. We showed her the daily paper with the Atrium listed and she said she did not know why they printed that. She did take us through everything when it was straightened out.
People were sent to the wrong meeting areas for excursions.
Bingo was listed as "We will crown the King and Queen at this session." I went, played and NOTHING was mentioned about the King and Queen aspect.
An excursion my husband went on was made to wait for a bus for almost an hour only to find out they were not taking a bus. They needed to walk into town to get the bikes they were going to be using. It seems the leader of this excursion should have known this.
Again...during a full week's worth of activities these annoyances were small by comparison to the wonderful time we had.
Like I said, it was great. We had a night of a creaking noise in our ceiling when we were at sea. We called and they sent someone to check it out. It was repaired and we received a little gift of strawberries and a bottle of wine for our inconvenience.
We did not utilize any of the specialty restaurants. We saved our money to enjoy the local cuisine of the ports we were in. The food offered in the regular dining rooms was above average and sufficient.
We opted to do 3 of the ships excursions and did the other ports on our own or with private tours.
The entertainment was excellent. We saw Legends and Blue Man Group. Make sure you reserve your seats as soon as you can. You should not miss either of these shows.
Disembarking - Well this is something I really cannot comment on since we were never given any information on how to disembark. I was surprised to hear them calling colors to disembark that morning (as I know they do from other cruises) and we had not received a thing. It really did not matter to us since we were walking off the ship with our luggage that day, but I could only think of first time cruisers who would have not known what was going on.