We live in Spain and flew from Malaga to Barcelona and stayed a couple of nights in Barcelona before the Cruise on The Epic. We booked this cruise for our 5Th Wedding Anniversary and pre booked a Deluxe Romance Package for a very reasonable price.
We got a taxi from the hotel in central Barcelona to the port..this was approx 15 euros as they had a "small" supplement on to the actual cost for your baggage in the boot..The check in process was so smooth and very easy..although we did arrive early, but we managed to check in and sort our money out before we went on board...We paid cash and there is a separate cash desk that you can put your money onto your card as well as the standard debit/credit card desks!
We were allowed on board at 11am and were in total awe at the size of this monster! We have travelled with Royal Caribbean before and as some people know they are not small!! This is colossal!! We had a couple of hours to wander the ship before we were allowed into our cabin at 13.00.
One thing we did notice is how small the swimming pools were and the sunbeds were always reserved and had towels on them despite it being a policy of NCL not to hog the beds, but they do not monitor it and there is no control over it.
When we arrived at our balcony room we were so pleased and happy with it...The bed was bigger than we expected as was the shower and toilet which were separate!! How nice is that? The balcony is small and cute with a couple of chairs and a small table..There is plenty of space for your clothes and other odds and ends that you may have.
We also had our Sparkling Wine and Chocolate Strawberries which we ordered in our Romance Package with a welcome letter and the Itinerary for the week ahead..We were made to feel very special and welcome.
In the first 24 hours we had some rather excitable youngsters in a balcony 2 doors away who were loud for a while, but we didn't hear them after that(maybe someone had a quiet word) and was a very peaceful week after that...
Our Room Attendant was Marvin and he was an absolute Diamond.He was always smiling and asking about your day and what you were doing later etc. Basically that was one thing we noticed with ALL the staff in that they were very friendly and very professional in everything they did and deserve all the praise they get!
Now for the Entertainment! It was very hit and miss..We started on Sunday night with The Blue Man Group who were absolutely superb! Best show by a mile.
Monday we went to see Stephen Sorrentino who we were looking forward too, but he was extremely disappointing.
And The Legends was so bad it was really hard to get to the end of the show..
Cirque was awesome and totally mesmerising , but the food was standard.
The food throughout the ship was very very good and we often ate far too much!
The speciality restaurants were also hit and miss..
Teppanyaki was VERY overrated and we were left feeling very disappointed .It is for entertainment purposes only and nothing more!
The Le Bistro which was part of our Romance Package was standard also.It started off fantastic with a complimentary bottle of wine and a fantastic starter.Our waitress Mai was fantastic, but the main course for my wife was very poor..She had cold new potatoes and complained that they were cold and not cooked, so she complained to the waitress who ordered her some fresh steamed vegetables and more potatoes, but yet AGAIN the potatoes were cold, so she just left them rather than complain again....
Cagney's was absolutely fantastic and is NCL signature restaurant and it lived up to its reputation.
Shanghais was also superb with a great choice of food and desserts.
I have tried to explain as much as I can without going into big details and it getting boring, so I will leave it there...
All in all a great cruise , and we would recommend it too families with young kids, but not for young couples, hence why we will be looking for a smaller ship next time...
This was quite pricey at $149 pp,which gives you transportation from the ship to Florence which takes approx 90 minutes and then you are given roughly 4 hours to explore on your own.
When you meet up again there is another 60-70 minute bus ride to Pisa and you have only 40-45 minutes here as time is short and you have enough time to get photos of the Tower and nothing more..
The bus ride back to the ship from Pisa takes about 40 minutes , so there is a lot of travelling at this port of call, but both cities are beautiful and have plenty of character.
On this day there was a national strike and all the trains, buses etc were all on strike, so if we had not booked pre cruise we would have struggled to get into the city from the port so the excursion was a bonus really...
The port terminal itself is fantastic.There is free wifi and a few tourist shops and everything inside is clearly signed.
Be careful of the traffic in this city..It is total chaos and they do not care about traffic lights or zebra crossings although if you see a police car it will stop to let you cross and then every other car will stop also for obvious reasons!! hehe..
We have done the amalfi coast,vesuvius,Pompeii and herculaneum before and would highly recommend it..it truly is an awesome experience which you will never forget.
The journey itself is on a train from the early 1900's and the scenery is amazing! We had no time in Soller itself, and we made our way to the bus straight away. Our next stop was Valldemossa and a guided tour of the monastery. And of course some free time to enjoy a spot of shopping.
The guide was fantastic with a wealth of knowledge and his sense of humour made a real difference to the excursion. There was an option to be dropped off in Pal ma afterwards (around 3 hours to spend at your leisure)and you could use the shuttle bus for free (a charge applies if no excursion purchased).
Would highly recommend this experience, and well worth the $99 per person.
Again another early start and 75 minutes to Rome city centre.
We had 6 hours or so to ourselves and you have so much to see.The entire city is shrouded in history.
Everywhere you go it is there..The only problems you are going to encounter with these excursions is the constant harassment from the stupid rose sellers who want to give you a rose for free and then want money from you!! No matter how many time you tell these clowns they just keep following you.... then there are the notorious handbag,sunglasses and other dodgy goodies that these guys keep selling on EVERY single street in EVERY single corner!
The Coliseum is totally unreal..a massive piece of history right in front of you..Although we did not go inside due to time restraints, we will definitely go again just to Rome to see it.
A great city with too many attractions to list, but a great day out and not enough time to do it all...