We embarked the Epic in Barcelona. There were a lot of people getting on, but all in all had no trouble.
I really liked our cabin. Yes, it was a bit tight but it had great storage space and was very comfortable, quiet and well-maintained. We had an extended balcony and while nice to have, we never used most of it, preferring to sit by the railing to enjoy the sun.
Our cabin was on deck 10 which was really convenient for going up a few floors to the pool deck or down a few to the restaurants. I never heard any noise from the hallway and very little from our neighbours. Closing the balcony door blocked any noise from outside, but it was nice to sleep with the door open at night.
Room steward was efficient. Everything was as expected.
We only booked one excursion through the cruise line: Pisa & Florence on your own. It was expensive but well run. Ship organized shuttle service in all ports was also good.
I found Norwegian to be fantastic and getting people on and off the ship at ports. We never had to linger in the stairwells waiting to get off the way we have on other cruises.
The buffet was well-laid out with lots of room for so many passengers. We could always find a seat somewhere, even on sea days.
Loved their nightlife - The White Hot Party and Latin Night at Bliss were especially good. We also enjoyed the Jazz club & the pool tables at O'Sheehan's.
We enjoyed our meals at the Taste and Manhattan dining rooms. Service was a bit hit-or-miss but generally food was good.
We ate at Teppanyaki & Moderno. We much preferred Teppanyaki for the food and atmosphere.
I found the itinerary exhausting. The 3 ports in Italy are especially long days. We preferred the ports we could enjoy close to the ship, with beautiful Palma being the clear winner.
Overall a good cruise. Norwegian didn't knock our socks off but they did deliver everything they promised. I would definitely cruise them again if price/itinerary was right. They are a mass-market cruise line and are more similar than different to the others I've sailed (Carnival, Princess, RCI). The only thing that sets them apart IMO is their Freestyle Dining which I truly enjoyed. They also had better entertainment choices overall.
I was pleasantly surprised by Marseille. After having read so many comments from other cruisers about skipping the port and going somewhere else I wasn't expecting much. After spending such long days in Italy we just decided to take the cruise ship's shuttle into the Vieux Port. The shopping was actually quite good here as were the little cafes surrounding the port. It was a nice relaxing day. We had a little trouble when the cab drivers staged an impromptu strike, but I thought the shuttle bus drivers did a good job working around them trying to get everyone back to the ship.
We took the ferry over to Capri. Would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't as concerned about catching the ferry back to the ship! It's a very expensive day, not sure it's worth it.
We took the cruise ship's shuttle into town. Again, very well organized and frequent service.
Palma was the best stop on the trip. It was one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Lovely little shops in the old town, lush gardens, gorgeous fountains - beauty everywhere. I highly recommend getting off the ship in this port. If you miss this one it would be a real shame.
Bought a BIRG ticket and took the regional train into Rome. This is one port where I would suggest you take HOHO bus or some other tour. It was just too big to do on foot in so little time. The metro stops are far apart and do not serve the historical centre. We got lost for a good part of the day and ended up missing a lot of what we wanted to see.