My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise about the Epic. I will start with some pre-cruise information. We flew from the states on Air France in the premium economy class of service to Paris and then took the TGV to Marseille, where we boarded the Epic. We felt the upgrade in service was worth the additional cost as we were traveling from Arizona. The premium economy offers a private cabin, a smidge wider seats but a lot more leg room. Along with that you also received priority check in, free baggage, luggage is tagged priority and in Europe a priority line for security. As we were traveling by train to Marseille we each took a 21 inch bag for our 10 day adventure. About 2 weeks prior to leaving, we packed our luggage as a test to see what we could fit and found we had plenty of space. We spent 3 nights in Marseille at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Vieux Port. This hotel has a great location for touring as the hop on hop off bus was about a block away and the electric bus stopped in front of the hotel. We would highly recommend this hotel and Marseille.
Embarkation was very easy as only a few people seem to embark in Marseille. We were on by 12n and went directly to our cabin (13034) which was ready for our arrival. This is a mini suite with a good size balcony. We asked our steward for a lounge for the balcony and she provided this within a hr of our arrival. We have sailed in mini's on other ships and found this cabin to be a little smaller but it does have a ton of storage space. We asked for additional hangers and was able to hang all of our clothes. The bathroom set up was not something we were happy with but we adjusted. Just a couple of tips, the light for the sink is under the vanity mirror , don't forget to put your room key in the slot by the door so the AC with work and lastly the do not disturb sign is on the placard outside of your door. This cabin was located close to the forward elevators which was easy and noise free. Also, pay attention to the color of the carpet outside of your cabin and look for that when getting off the elevator on your floor.
We found the food overall to be very good. The buffet had lots to choose from and plenty of tables. At times it was busy but we always found a place. We enjoyed going up to the area at the very front of the buffet as it has great windows and is wonderful to watch sail aways and sunsets. We ate in the Manhattan room, buffet , O'Sheehan's, La Cucina and Shanghai. We would probably not pay the additional for La Cucina and Shanghai again as they were just average and the other location offered good choices.
We attended two shows, Blue Man Group and Legends. We were disappointed in both and would not recommend them. As for excursions we did two NCL tours and would rate them a 6 out of 10. The first problem was that NCL staff was very disorganized and confused. we thought this was because we were on one of the first Med sailing, but have read the same complaint from people who have travelled after us. We took the Palma/Valldemossa tour....Loved Valldemossa, this tour only spent less than 1 hour there, Montserrat tour in Barcelona...This is also beautiful but not enough time there as we had to wait in line for about 25 mins of the hour we were given. NCL does offer shuttle, some for a fee and some free in each port. They should publish this ahead so people can plan what they would like to do in port. We took the free shuttle in Civitavecchai into town and walked around, this is where you can get a train to Rome. In Naples we took at Taxi and went to Da Micheles for Pizza, cab was expensive but Pizza was great. It rained very had in Livorno so we stayed on the ship.
NCL seems to lack in giving disembarkation information and the staff could not answer questions about disembarking in Marseille and transportation to the train station. We decided to take the NCL shuttle (8.00US one way) to the Vieux Port and take a taxi to the train. The Vieux Port is a distance from where the ship docks, but this worked well for us.
We cruise about twice a year and we have not sailed with NCL in a few years. We have never sailed on a ship this large but found that it worked for this itinerary, but it would not be something we would do on an itinerary that had a lot of sea days. We would sail NCL again but prefer smaller ships.