Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by krazymoi: Lessons learned on Norwegian Epic cruise
Overall Member Rating
Lessons learned on Norwegian Epic cruise
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
I cruised many years ago (Caribbean) and it was the first time for my boyfriend, first time for both of us on NCL. I spent a lot of time researching this cruise versus the Royal Caribbean similar version. Here are my observations and tips.
1. The free style dining is good in that we never ate dinner at the same time however I miss the spectacle and the comaraderie from the old days. My biggest complaint is that the food wasn't great in the Taste/Manhattan all inclusive restaurants. Both offer the same menu and the service was good but the food was just so-so. Nothing to get excited about at all. The buffet was edible and I can't say much more other than that there was a lot of it but it was always very crowded and hard to get your food and find a table before your food got cold. Okay for breakfast or lunch but I would never eat there for dinner.
We ate in only one specialty restaurant, the La Cucina and it was very good. If Norwegian would up the food quality in the More main dining rooms (since I know they can do it), my review would go up considerably.
2. Embark and debark both were fine. We waited until 2pm to board and although no one really told you where to go or what was available it was okay. We kept our bags and had set up airport transfer in advance so that was also easy.
3. Cabin - we had a balcony cabin mid-ship. The BAD was that there was exhaust from a kitchen pouring over our balcony so we could never use it. We couldn't even leave the door open because the smell was so bad. Beware of the location of your cabin when you book a balcony. I would have never thought about this before.
The controversy about the shower/toilet - silly. The shower was nice and the glass is frosted. If you travel with someone you are not comfortable being somewhat undressed in front of then get your own cabin. The bed was comfortable and the cabin long but narrow. You could practically sit on the bed and wash your hands but I was okay with that. What can you expect on a cruise that holds 4000? My only other criticism would be lighting was poor for the ladies who need to see to put on makeup and there was no hair conditioner or body lotion. They only provide shampoo and body wash in the shower. Had I known I would have brought my own as it was very drying on the skin.
4. Shows - Blue Man was fantastic and Cirque Dreams superb! We also saw a band in the Jazz club that wasn't jazz but played good dance music, Graffiti Classics - fun, a solo guitarist outside of one of the bars, a jazz band in the atrium area that was good, Legends (not very good in my opinion), and the Beatles impersonators - pretty good. I paid the few extra dollars for the premium seating at Cirque and we stood in line which was worth it to me. The show was fantastic and even better when they dragged me and my boyfriend on stage to be part of the act.
Overall I would probably not cruise on NCL again:
1. Food was just okay and I didn't feel I should have to pay to eat in the specialty restaurants.
No one told me until the last night that I could purchase an entire bottle of wine and they would pour for it me in any restaurant or bar so I bought individual glasses at a higher price.
2. The ship itself wasn't anything that made me say WOW. It was nice and clean and the staff mostly friendly but there was nothing exciting about the layout.
For us it was a good trip but exhausting trying to cram so much in to so little time. We both work out at least 4 days a week and I had been increasing my miles in preparation for the tours. If you are not in shape I don't know how you would ever last on the excursions. Lesson learned. If I cruise again I'll skip the tours, enjoy the ship more and just get off to hit the beach.
If I want to see Italy I'll go to that country and allow time to see what I want at my leisure and not try to cram so much into so little time. Less
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Cabin review: BC8113 Mid-Ship Balcony
Lots of closet and storage space for our clothes. Poor lighting in the room, no body lotion or hair conditioner.Kitchen odors a constant when on the balcony rendered it useless.Read All Mid-Ship Balcony (BC) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Florence Walking Tour
Florence on your own - so glad we did this one on our own. It was still lots of driving in the bus but we were lucky with an amazing tour guide before we got there who gave us tons of info. Still a very long day of walking and we didn't wait in the lines to see the great works of art. Was sorry to miss those but there just wasn't time.
Marseille - I changed this since we didn't get into port until 1pm and the tour would have ended at 6 (we had Cirque reservations at 6:30). We did the easy Marseille tour which was okay. Some time on our own but the tour guide was reading the notes rather than being knowledgeable
We did the Amalfi Coast/Pompeii from Naples. A good tour but very long and exhausting. Lots of driving and fast paced but Pompeii was great to see. We had Luigi who was an archeologist and really knowledgeable.
Naples itself was dirty and there didn't seem to be any reason I would go back there.
Majorca - this time I didn't book anything and we simply paid the $12/each for the shuttle from the ship into town. Nice day and okay to walk around but there were many shops closed (due to lack of business?) and the others were shops like Guess that I really don't need to see in Spain. I probably could have missed this stop and stayed on the ship at the pool.
Rome/Vatican tour - this was an expensive tour and I'm glad I saw it even though I consider it "Drive by Vatican" tour. It was extremely crowded as the Pope speaks on Wednesday am and there were thousands of people crammed into the spaces. We barely had time to stop during the tour to take pictures and we walked elbow to elbow through the entire tour with many, many other groups. The Sistine Chapel was something I'm glad I saw but I would never do this tour again. An hour and 45 minutes just to get to Rome from port and then 5 hours running through everything. Do not do this tour if you aren't comfortable in a really crowded situation and aren't able to walk for 5 hours without a break. Skip it and go to on a Thursday in January when you can actually enjoy it
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