I booked my cruise only a month before travel thru Cruise 118 with Helen Dovener in the UK... Having never been on a cruise before I was not sure what to expect. Luckily I found the Cruise Critic website and found I could get in contact with other travellers on the same trip as me and managed to arrange a Meet and Greet for day 2 on the ship to meet them all! I also managed to book a trip to Naples with Share a shore excursion in Italy, saving me a lot of money compared with the NCL trips...
Day 1 - So I arrived at Reus airport in Spain and got the included transfer to Barcelona.. for anyone else considering a cruise out of Barcelona, it now seems like a much better idea to go straight there as Reus is an hour and a half coach trip to Barcelona...Getting on the ship was made really easy and happened quickly, my luggage got to my cabin fairly early. The first thing I did whilst getting onboard was to visit Maltings, the Whiskey Bar, where I met my favourite bartender for the trip - Joseph (we met here every night before dinner). If anyone likes wine, it is worthwhile looking at the Wine deals as by the glass is not cheap, but if you buy more than 6 bottles in a week, you get 20% off! I then met with an online friend from cruise critic. Then came the safety briefing where we all had to go to our allocated muster stations if anything went wrong. The beauty of this ship is that if you are travelling on your own, you can stay in a Studio Cabin and not have to pay double to stay on your own. The cabin for me for fine, enough room,lots of storage space, plus my cabin steward Orthos was a star! Towel animals on my bed every night, my room was tidied twice a day (if only I could have taken him home with me!) The first night I went to the Living Room - a place for singles to meet and introduce themselves. Sol - NCL Epic staff member did a great job of getting us all to introduce ourselves. It was nice to meet others travelling on their own and know that we could meet up and stay together or stay on our own if we wanted. A dinner was booked for Wednesday for us all to meet in Taste. I then had dinner and a show booked at the Cirque Dreams show. This was great, I only booked a standard seat but sat in a booth with some lovely ladies from Atlanta, food was good, show was fab!
Day 2 - at sea, this was really busy, but managed to get a bed by the pool. I am still quite surprised how small the pools are, however have been assured this was similar to others. The best thing though was the water slides... especially the one where you went down on a tube! Adults and children alike were up and down these. Later I went to the Blis Lounge, where I met with my other online friends from Cruise Critic. NCL had managed to get about 10 of the Officers to come and join us. This was brilliant and I met with my companions who I spent a lot of time with thru out the trip. A couple from the UK and another from the UK on his own, plus single travellers from Sweden, Denmark and the USA (we are all still in contact now and arranging to try and do another trip next February in the Caribbean!). After meeting we arranged to have drinks by the Pool Bar. If you smoke this and the Humidor Cigar Lounge are some of the places you can smoke. The Pool Bar staff again were great and we were well looked after by Marcos and Ronnie. Back in my cabin, I picked up a voicemail.. I had been invited for drinks with the Captain and other guests at the Epic lounge! Not sure what I had done to deserve this, but I went along and met again with the NCL Officers and others on the cruise for some free drinks in a great room. I then met with my friend and we went to the ICE vodka bar and enjoyed 2 vodka cocktails for $20. They give you a fur parka and gloves, but if you were like me and wore sandals.. your feet freeze (wear socks!)! That night a few of us met for Dinner in the Manhatten Room (inclusive dining room, no shorts though if you are a guy!). Dinner here was good with good service.
Day 3 - Having had an action packed day before, I decided to take it easy. The Ship docked at Florence but as I had been before I simply went off the ship for 5 minutes to look around and then came back on, plus it was raining! So I went to the Spa and was really pleased to find out they had some discounted treatments as many people had gone off for the day. So 3 treatments later from Laura, a great therapist from the US, I felt a lot better and the sun was shining! I also found a bed by the pool really easy. That night a few of us went bowling... a great excuse for missing the pins was the ship was moving! However even at sea it was hard to feel sea sick! The shops had a $12 sale and I bought a lovely little handbag...
Day 4 - Rome - 4 of us dared to get the train and venture into Rome. If you are not back onboard by the time the ship leaves, they will go without you (unless you are on one of there trips!). We had a fab day and just got the hop on hop off bus and then the train back. Back onboard we met with lots of other solo travellers for dinner in the Taste restaurant. Sol had managed to get about 30 of us together for dinner. We then went dancing in Bliss and Spice H20, then Fat Cats for some Jazz.
Day 5 - Naples - I went on a Share a Shore Excursion and visited Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii (75 euros each, 8 people in a mini bus, Fulvio was our amazing driver). went to a local restaurant for lunch and paid 25 euros for food and drinks.. Had a really good day. Dinner again in the Manhatten room followed by dancing at Spice H20. We all dressed in white for the White Hot Party! More drinks at Bliss and then could not get up the next day!
Day 6 - a late start to another day at sea... Spent the day lazing by the pool and had dinner at Moderno Churrascaria (paid about $20 extra but it was worth it) If you like meat you must come here! Purchased a photo of our group of friends for $23, a little expensive but a great picture. Had drinks in O'Sheehans .
Day 7 - Palma Majorca - took a taxi tour from the port and told our driver where we wanted to go for 100 euros! Back on the boat we went to LaCucina Italian for dinner (10$ extra). Won $150 on roulette at the amazing casino!
Left the ship the next morning at 6 am to get the coach back to Reus then London. Unfortunately our plane developed a fault and we were sat at the airport for 6 hours! Complete nightmare... Realised I had completely missed seeing the Blue Man Group as I had been too busy! Managed to get tickets to see Los Locos Ole.. this is a must if you want to laugh lots! Have definitely missed out some of the stuff I did here, the week passed by so quickly. All fears of me being a sad traveller on my own had gone, it was not retirement heaven or full of children, I did not get sea sick once or bored. I had such a great time and really want to do it again!