We took our 7 day Mediterranean cruise from Civitivecchia on 6/25. We arrived from Rome by train. After a brief cab ride we were at check-in. Check in was easy as there were few people there. We would later discover that Citivecchia is not a main embarkation point; this will weigh heavily on our enjoyment of the cruise.
After check-in we were left to make our own way to our cabin. After some wrong turns we found it. We were surprised not to find crew helping new passengers find their way on a mega ship. This isolation and "figure it out yourself” impression would make up much of the theme for this cruise. This time we booked an inside. I felt it was adequate. My husband hated the bathroom situation. Our room was neat and kept clean throughout the cruise. However, we did not meet our cabin steward until the last night of our cruise. This contributed to our feeling of general isolation.
This was the one highlight of the cruise. We did the UDP. We went to Cagneys, LeBistro , Moderno and Teppanyaki. All were excellent. The crew at these locations was attentive and charming. As our American schedules seemed to run counter to European scheduling we found that most of the cruise we were eating in an empty dining room. It did not detract from the experience but still made us feel like we were out of synch with the rest of the ship. For breakfast we either did room service or buffet. Both were adequate. The pool grill was a go-to lunch spot, although for 2 days we did go to OSheeans. These options are fine as well. The burger is better at OSheeans than the grille. The pizza is just awful, we cancelled La Cucina based on that alone.
The bars had a very good beer selection. The staff was attentive. I was disappointed that their “champagne/martini” bar had only one type of “champagne”. I did not take into consideration the VAT tax when booking. I wish I had been better prepared. We wound up tipping wait staff less because of the 10% extra tacked on to every drink (15-20% when we are generally 25% minimum tippers). In hindsight a beverage package would have probably made more sense. The bars were empty a lot of the time. We asked why and were told again that there were few Americans on board and Europeans don't really drink except for dinner.
3 pools for 5000 people? Are you kidding me?! These are not large pools either, they are insufficient for more than a plunge. Add 50 of your fellow passengers to one and I am completely grossed out. It was apparently school vacation in Spain so there were a lot of children aboard. The children seemed less interested in the slides than I had hoped and spent much of their time in the 2 main pools. We spent much of our time at the back “adults only” area. It is nice to have that option and it appears most people got the no kids message. I do wish there was some shade in that section though. For the most part it was full sun, which can be a little much all day long. We did not find this area crowded, except on the sea day. When the sea day came it really feel like you were sailing with 5,000 people. It was like a wall of humanity everywhere you turned.
What are “Aussie Boys”? What in the world is “Classical Graffiti”? These questions and more abounded on our ‘figure it out yourself” cruise. We were thinking it would be impossible to be bored on a mega ship. That there would be waay too much to do. We were wrong. We were bored. We were uninformed. We felt our time was wasted. Apparently, Barcelona is the main embarkation point for this cruise, at that stop, the daily and cruise staff help people get orientated to the ship, explain “activity cards” and what the entertainment is for the cruise. Woe to those who do not get on at that point. You are left to “figure it out yourself”. For days we went to shows, trying to determine from title what they were, only to find ourselves locked in to shows not at all to our tastes. We enjoy games and trivia on cruise ships. While they were available, other players were in short supply. Most nights we watched karaoke because at least we knew what we were getting.
What was missing in the dailies should have been covered during the cruise morning show. We usually look forward to the morning shows on cruises. Our cruise director was clearly not feeling it. She literally read off the daily with no explanation provided. This was the morning show.
Those little touches that make you feel valued; they only exist for a fee. The “white hot party” a sparsely attended affair at the back of the boat where not even a complimentary toast was offered. The midnight chocolate buffet, where you saw artisans displaying their skills and creativity in a way that was so completing people would come early just to take pictures . It is gone. Any recognition of past guests? Nope. If you want to be yelled at by a front desk clerk when making a last minute shore excursion, because you waited until the last minute. Well yes, you can have that for free ( It should be noted that the infamous daily told me that making that last minute booking was ok).
We are done. Epic was an Epic fail. Norwegian has lost our business.