124 Barcelona Singles Cruise Reviews

I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up ... Read More
I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up between 14:30 - 15:30. We left our AirBnB in Barcelona at maybe 10:15, and were at the port shortly after. We snuck in with our friends who were in a junior suite although we were only in a CP View cabin and were given group one and told it would be a 45 minute wait or so for boarding to commence. But we were happy to have group 1. However maybe 10 minutes later they started calling group 1. By the time we made it to the elevator to the gangway they were already saying group 1-25!!! So really fast boarding. I am a complete newbie to the Oasis Class, but I did get a feeling the cruise wasn't by any means sold out though. Which would make sense at the end of the Summer season like this. The ship was impressive and lived up to the hype of the Oasis class. One thing I had read online and also that my friends who cruise on other ships also noticed along with myself is that the ship really is very interior focused, and even the few spaces on the main decks that do have windows/portholes for some reason have frosted or vinyl'd over glass. You could easily go a day on this ship and maybe only see the water once or twice. Even though the ship was two weeks away from a major dry dock and her amplification, she was in pretty good condition. Only a few niggles with the lifts sometimes not responding to button pushes. We did a few finger wipes in nooks and crannies in public areas and every-time were impressed with the cleanliness. Our cabin was fine for the two of us, although other than speaking with our steward(ess) about having our beds separated the first night, we did not really interact with her again. Dining was average in the main dining room if I am honest. It wasn't to Disney standards, and my Carbonara one night was particularly congealed which was disappointing. The wait team in the MDR were brilliant though. We also did Izumi which was great. And 150 Central Park, where the food was good, but the atmosphere and staff were a little lacking. Entertainment wise the main shows were great. Cats was a great production, but I do not understand why RCI thought this would be a good fit for the casual audience of a cruise ship. Many people left before the show even made it to the end of act 1, and even less came back. The Ice show was also great. Come fly with me made zero sense, but the cast were great. One night we ended up really enjoying which we hadn't expected to was the 70's party night in the Promenade. It just clicked and the place really came alive and everyone seemed to have a great time. Overall the service could be a bit lacking and maybe this is because the crew knew it was the end of the season and they have one more cruise after ours then a long dry dock. But that is really no excuse, in particular every time I used the Solarium Bar, I was served by the same server who seemed very unfriendly and uninterested. Shore excursions we did just one official RCI one which was Aix on your own, so it was really a commentated coach ride in and then we did our own thing (in the pouring rain sadly). Majorca was a great stop, although quick. but for me Cinque Terre at La Spezia was a highlight, stunning scenery and a great walk between two of the towns. Naples was foul, we took a train to Pompeii, but if I did another cruise that stopped in Naples, I would stay on the ship. Overall it was a good introduction to RCI, and great to be able to brag at having done one of the largest ships in the world, and the first of the famous Oasis class. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ... Read More
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ship is clean and beautiful. There are many nice pools and hot tubs, so they were not crowded (yet they close them all down early which is irritating). The bed was comfortable and the room quiet. The food in the buffet was just okay (deserts were good), better than Carnival, but the food in the dining room was much worse than carnival. And now I move on to the bad things... Eating in the dining room on Carnival was a great experience we looked forward to every night, but on MSC it felt like a punishment. Usually the food was not good and the waiters also made us feel uncomfortable and unwanted. They do not have "anytime dining" like other ships, you have to pick 6 PM, 8 PM or 10 PM. They kick you out after an hour or so to get ready for the next crowd. They are always rushing around in a hurry yet take forever to bring the food. We waited an hour for our first course one time, then had 15 minutes to eat the rest and get out. It is loud and there is constant banging from the dumbwaiter bringing down food. We asked to be switched to a different time and got a better waiter and location after the switch. I cannot believe they charge you for water in the dining room! Water was free on Carnival. Which is my next complaint, they are constantly after more money. They pester you all the time to buy the drink and food packages. The drink package would have cost $700 for the two of us ($40 a day). If you're drinking $700 in alcohol in one week you have a problem. We spent $80 on drinks, that's it. The food package would have cost around $260 for 3 meals for the two of us. That's seems high for mediocre food. The worst experience by far were the excursions! DO NOT book a tour. Have them bus you and walk around on your own. The tour company they use in Italy is a nightmare! We were not given all the things promised in Pisa and Rome. In Rome they lost an elderly man and left him there. Don't know if he ever made it back to the ship. I did not listen to the tour guides speak, they are hard to understand. Our English speaking guide hardly said anything anyway. The guides have deals with shops to take you there so you will buy things, like the "Pearl Factory" they said we needed a ticket to get into. It was a jewelry store! Nothing more, and it is free to go in. They wasted my time with this stuff. I felt very ripped off over the excursions. The internet was poor, and we had a router right outside our room. The zip-line cost $12 a person and is boring. It should be free! The constant up-selling is just a nightmare. We have decided not to go on MSC again because of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I had most recently cruised on NCL Epic and Breakaway (which are much larger newer ships with outstanding entertainment) so my very first impression upon boarding was that the Spirit was old, tired, and had a confusing layout requiring you ... Read More
I had most recently cruised on NCL Epic and Breakaway (which are much larger newer ships with outstanding entertainment) so my very first impression upon boarding was that the Spirit was old, tired, and had a confusing layout requiring you to go up or down to get to main dining room or theatre. Over the 10 days I came to love the smaller size, more personal experience with smaller size ship. Getting around was actually really easy. This cruise had virtually no children onboard, and they have a separate kids pool in the back, so the pool area was quiet and all adults. The musicians onboard were pretty good, especially the Filipino cover band. As the cruise went on, I began to reevaluate the entertainment and found it to be better than average. Not really a party cruise, as the only dancing takes place at 10:30 when the cruise staff shows up in the lounge for a dance party and then everyone hits the dance floor. The itinerary turned out to have amazing weather. It was high sixties low seventies every day with a mild breeze. Sea days at the pool were awesome and most excursions ended at 2:30 and got you back to the boat for a late lunch, and then right to the sunny pool deck with great music. Casablanca did not impress most people, but the Canary Islands, Funchal were much nicer and more pleasing than expected. Malaga (excursion to Gribraltar) and Alicante were awesome, only mistake I made was taking an excursion outside of Alicante to Guadalest instead of walking ashore and visiting the mountain forts in-town on my own. When the cruise ended I took the train to Valencia for Las Fallas (sort of similar to Mardi Gras) which takes place every year from April 17 to 19. Highly recommend, it was totally insane, fireworks, giant paper mache 40 foot statues, ironic, playful creations, and tens of thousands dressed in period costumes marching all night, fireworks at 1am and the last night they burn the paper mache statues in all the plazas they were erected all over town at midnight on the 19th. Great city (totally flat) perfect for bike rental to get to beach and into crowded festival downtown. I booked last minute and took my first inside cabin, deck 6 front of ship, had some pitch but I was never in the room during daylight and hardly in room at all. The weather was so good I was on deck or enjoying entertainment all the time. Cruise staff is pretty good and smaller ship size means you get familiar with staff much quicker. Finding a seat for music, game shows, was always super easy. As far as Dining, the food was the same as the other NCL ships - however this trip I ate no bread, grains/carbs, or sugar. Finally found a way not to gain 10 lbs on a cruise. However quality of fish and meats, salami, cheese etc was subpar. Never really noticed on previous cruises when I was hitting the taco bar, pasta bar, ice cream station, etc. This cruise had prime rib one night, and the New York Strip is on menu every night, but just OK, but no lobster, no scallops, salmon just ok. So unless you go to Cagney's, the food is really nothing special. There was never a wait in main dining (Windows) and service was outstanding! The few times I ate in the buffet I found the meats overcooked, one type of poor quality salami, few cheeses. Lots of fruits, breads, deserts, potatoes, rice, etc. Coffee on board was better than average. In summary, ship was very clean, staff outstanding, itinerary awesome, weather insanely good, few kids if any, entertainment pretty good, not much night-life but shows pretty good. Never a crowd or much of a line for anything. Super easy getting on and off. Tips: Stay near Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona - Airport Terminal one bus (pay on bus 5.90 Euros) takes you right to plaza - so easy) . On way to and from ship walk Las Rambla 10 minutes to Columbus Statue and board Port bus for 3 Euros. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this ... Read More
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this cruise two things were exceptional: the solo studio experience and the onboard entertainment. I never expected the solo traveller program to be so brilliantly organized, I never expected to make good friends, I never expected to never eat alone! NCL had a brilliant young Filipino named Ters Tesoro (or Terry) who held daily meetings in the solo lounge with solo travellers. The lounge is a great concept as the single studios are so small. You can hang out there, drink good coffee or nibble cookies or croissants (supplied daily) and chill with fellow cruisers. Several dozen attended the late afternoon daily meetings, when Ters would offer those who felt sociable a chance to have dinner together, avoiding the queues, or a show where seats were put aside for us. We could meet for all meals, and soon several small groups befriended each other and would do stuff together. It was huge fun and completely unexpected. Entertainment was also first rate: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor were excellent and with pianists, comedians, hypnotist, Beatles tribute band, and a wild Icelandic singer/violinist all available, evenings rocked on the Epic. Now for the bad stuff: I love to deck walk, and the narrow jogging track on one side of one deck is a joke. I so missed the Princess's promenade decks! I tried to walk on Deck 15 but was told no. The food was mainly poor to terrible. It was almost impossible to get warm, let alone hot, food in Taste, one of the main dining rooms. I don't blame the servers, it was a systematic failure from Kitchen to Table. You know things are bad when the plates are cold to the touch. And that was 90% of the time. Meals took forever: sometimes two hours to complete breakfast. I have cruised more than a dozen times, and this was by far the worst dining room experience. The other "complimentary" dining room, Manhattan, was a little better. The 24-hour pub always managed to provide piping hot food, but the wait at lunchtime was often very long. I was surprised when I first entered my studio room at 3 pm on sailing day to find it was not made up and clothing from the previous occupant was still hanging in the closets. He had apparently moved to another room for the TransAtlantic but no-one had removed his clothes. Weird. The other really annoying thing about NCL is the constant pressure to put money down on your next cruise. A phone message. Messages on the TV. Almost daily notes or letters encouraging you to put money down. The worst (and most disgusting) tactic was to send you a copy of your bill to date (showing your charges) to make the point that a future cruise deposit would waive these charges. Well I had prepaid grats and grats on the drink package, so my bill should have shown zero, not the $500 or so in charges the invoice said I had run up. I saw several people take these fake invoices to guest services who said it was nothing to do with them and had come from the NextCruise people. Shameful. I enjoyed my cruise overall but feel the experience was hugely enhanced by the solo program which allowed me to put up with the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings ... Read More
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings waters supply. Totaly terrible services the dinnig room foods were not foods just junkies . Terrible and horrible services . THe ship were gay desert queen just not foe family . Lousy shows its needs to be up graded or changes . the vendors macines were not working for the whole trips no one care about that .Foods services on the ship were just not not enough to eat . JUst terrible and horrible . I would not recommended anyoe to go on board for just a horrible ship. . By the wat in board the ship announced FREE bout it was not everythings needs to pay .The entrtainments just horrible noy na good shows to terrible shows for everyonre. Noe I found a good way to expressed myslf to everyone who like Western Med regions , Please don't go to Norweegian Epic that all.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, ... Read More
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, the check in staff were helpful and informative, so sat at the bar waiting to be called. After looking at the info the check in desks give we head into our room, collect the cards and walk out. We then go to reception get a drink, go for an explore, then head to the top deck. That’s when it goes slightly downhill, no one knows what to do next, we didn’t know about the entertainment information or the timetable as we were so excited to go exploring we seemed to miss the little pigeonhole right next to the door, I finally understood on the last night. Not Costas fault but it’s not explained very well once onboard the ship. Also being a group on girls on a birthday weekend I think there was a few more drinks flowing than normal. At 6.30 there was a safety demonstration which lasted about 20 odd minutes, then off to dinner for 9.15pm, that was a definite eye opener so very busy, the waiter we had wasn’t at all friendly (although we later found out they can work up to 8 months and that’s without a day off), even I don’t think I could plaster a smile on my face everyday. While dining in the main buffet Michael Jackson started blaring on the loud speaker, then up out of no where all the waiters start jumping about dancing. That was amazing as it comes out of nowhere!! Food was good, although the menu can get confusing as the waiter never did explain that you can order anything and everything if you choose. We all dance the night away and that was a great first night. Next morning with a slight hangovers and an early morning wake up call as someone managed to get locked out of their room and went off with another friend in another cabin, we all shower and up we get for a buffet breakfast. I can see from the choice of breakfast that they do try to cater for different nationalities but the breakfast isn’t great to be honest. I try some pancakes and bacon and that’s it. The coffee also isn’t great as unlike the bars where they have a machine and a milk frother they don’t have in the buffet, so water or orange juice is the way forward, also they don’t have a toaster, and the bread is rock solid. You could kill a bird with it. Off we go to marseille, hmmm next time I won’t bother as there’s not overly a lot to do there, walked around, saw some buildings, forced an alcoholic drink down our neck and back on the boat. lunch at the buffer, again it wasn’t too great, rock hard bread again, some warm focaccia, pasta, and a big lump of beef with potatoes, not great if you’re a vegetarian (I’m not, but 2 of our friends are). Go to dinner at 9.15pm, this time the waiters dance to some latin songs, ver well done again. Then another repeat of the night before, more drinks and dance the night away). The 3rd morning head off to the buffet again, this time no pacncakes, I don’t eat eggs so not a lot to choose from, I grabbed 2 pieces of French bread with cinnamon and some pineapple, that will do. We get off at Savona, 1 MASSIVE tip, other than supermarkets everything else shuts at 1.30 and opens back up at 4.30, unfortunately we have to be back on the ship by 4.30 so we spent an hour walking in a group of 7, with different people trying to find a restaurant just so we can get a pizza, it didn’t go down too well but got there in the end. Back on the ship, more drinks, a lot more passengers so the bar on deck 9 was a complete nightmare, then off we go again. Down to shower, off to the 9.15pm dinner, waited until 10pm to ask the waiter what time will the dancing be on tonight, he tells us there won’t be any, shame, so we all thanked him, 3 went off to bed, 4 of us decided to pop off to the casino. Within half hour our 50€ was spent and off to the bar we go. A few more drinks down our necks an the conversation turned to the bar staff. When we took 5 minutes out of our busy lives to see the amount they work, the stuff they have to put up with, and the hours they work on a daily basis, I’m so grateful for my life. The amount of time they’re away from home, they don’t see their families for months and months at a time. While we go on holiday they’re there at our beck and call when we want a drink or service. So thank you Henry and Danny for that night. So last morning just before we go to Barcelona, we set our alarms to make the restaurant breakfast. I do wish I’d gone there before but to be there by 9 is a bit of a deal breaker, unfortunately again we had a not so friendly waiter and had to be called about 3 times before he would come over to serve, at least it was nice. Back to the room to get our stuff as we had to be out by 10. We decided to go back to deck 9, as we started off from there a few more Prosecco to finish up the holiday, and off we go to the shops, pay our bill at the desk and get ready to leave. As they bleep mine and my roommates cats and unfamiliar buzz goes off, we’re not allowed to leave but everyone else disembarked, so back off to the desk to sort the cards out. Cards done and out we go. The 2 of us are last to pick up our luggage go through everything and my friend realizes she’s had some money stolen from her case. Do not leave any money in your case. There’s signs around saying the same so I don’t know what was going through her mind at that time when she left the case outside the door the night before. You HAVE to leave your cases outside of the room the night before for them to collect it. They advise to leave the cases the night before by 12 midnight and no later than 1am, but I witnessed them not coming until 3.30 am. Do not leave anything valuable at all. There’s always people workers and non workers wandering the hallways so could have been anyone. I also had stuff taken but luckily not money. Anyway other than the little hiccup at the end it all went well. I also missed the last day lunch as I was too busy booking my next cruise onboard. This time as a family, so hopefully the next one will be a little less partying and a little less hangovers. On the last note, be aware that if you suffer from rocking on land, It’s been 48 hours and I still don’t feel great and I’m still rocking and swaying. Maybe I was a little hasty in booking the next one but I’m sure I’ll be over it then. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This is our 5th RCL cruise, we have travelled on Allure, Oasis and a smaller boat. The big ships are so fun, with so many options of things to do for everyone. We were on expedited check in which took literally the time to walk to the ... Read More
This is our 5th RCL cruise, we have travelled on Allure, Oasis and a smaller boat. The big ships are so fun, with so many options of things to do for everyone. We were on expedited check in which took literally the time to walk to the boat. We did not have to wait at all. The first day on all ships I always find busy, there are so many people walking around confused, trying to find their way etc etc. You just have to know that when you arrive that there may be a few people in the way. We didn't find at any time that it was over crowded or too busy. We always could find a table at the buffet, there was always tons of food choices and it all for the most part was fresh and warm. We didn't eat too much at the sit down formal dinners only because we enjoyed more time in the hot tub that always seemed to make us late for dinner. The windjammer is always good for many choices. For sure it does get repetitive after a 10 day cruise but that would be the same for any resort or cruise. The shows are great, Hairspray definitely the top. I enjoyed the aquatheater shows more on the allure and oasis than the symphony but that doesn't take anything away from the performance. Flight was a bit confusing and not at the top of my choices. The stand up comedian never disappoints and really enjoyed the two shows he hosted. We take part in a lot of the activities. The flowrider is awesome and so fun. The waterslides which are an addition on this ship are actually quite well done. I thought they would be slow kid waterslide but definitely not. Bit freaky but fun for sure!! There are always a ton of options. If you are bored on this ship you are boring....there is always something going on. Lastly the service was awesome. Erwin our stateroom attendant was so awesome and really ensures we were taken care of. The staff on the ship always had smiles on and were so kind. Gain I dont agree with peoples comments in other reviews about the staff. They must be walking around with a frown. It would be super tough to do a cruise in general with a baby or young children. Unless you can afford a large suite. For two people a balcony stateroom is quite spacious. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
When I embarked on Crystal Serenity in Barcelona on Sunday October 7, I recalled that my last cruise on this ship was well over almost 4 years, yet I was pleasantly amazed (but not surprised) that many restaurant staff, under the direction ... Read More
When I embarked on Crystal Serenity in Barcelona on Sunday October 7, I recalled that my last cruise on this ship was well over almost 4 years, yet I was pleasantly amazed (but not surprised) that many restaurant staff, under the direction of Leo, to me the master of all cruiseship Maitre D’s, could still greet me in name. Such is the hospitality level of Crystal cruises that many Crystal Society members return to the ship. The embarkation took no time, even the ship was practically full. Embarkation began at noon though in theory rooms are available from 3pm, but in a PH cabin mine was ready. There was a special luggage storage that takes care of hand luggages so that any guest can enjoy a leisurely lunch. Such is the hospitality with full attention to detail that makes what Crystal is, particular with direct comparison to the two cruises that I just had disembarked (I took 3 consecutive cruises in 30 days). This cruise, trade named Iberian Sojourn, a standard 7-day trip ending in Lisbon, has an ideal itinerary in that travel distance is short so that it is all port days and passengers have ample time in each port. The Spanish ports are, to me, more interesting than the Mediterranean ports in Italy that practically every cruiser has visited. In each port Crystal of course provides free shuttle so that one enjoys free and easy visits. Because of all-port, there was no formal night and the well-loved Mozart tea was not served. I have had many Crystal Cruises (my first was on Crystal Harmony, before Serenity was built), and as an old timers I can see good changes under new ownership of Genting Hong Kong. The ship was renovated only about 4 years ago, and on embarkation I learned that after this trip the ship will undergo dry docking for a whole month for another important renovation, probably the most important because the ship will re-emerge in November offering open sitting dining (Crystal Symphony had completed that process). Hitherto if Crystal was to be faulted as a luxury ship it was the two sitting system that requires one to eat either too early or too late. No more, and then my only regret is that, if I had this knowledge, I would have chosen to cruise after the renovation. A luxury cruise differs from a standard one mainly in space per passenger and crew to passenger ratio, and of course in service and food. Crystal offers best service second only to SeaDream (but the latter carries only 100 passengers with similar number of staff). Crew members here do not change ships, though there can be re-deployment as since the Genting takeover, Crystal has added two yachts and five river boats (not to mention even a luxury air operation). Great that virtually same staff members serve so that the important ‘recognition scenes’ are in place. But it is the delicate improvement of food standard that makes the ship remarkable, at a time when cutback is seen in the whole trade (including Silversea which serves packaged orange juice unless you ask for the fresh). I agree with the latest Berlitz guide as it now rates Crystal above competitors Silversea, Seabourn and Regent. The Crystal food is truly enjoyable, now that the restaurant offers two menus, one modern and one traditional, therefore many choices. On this visit I tend to conclude that the ‘modern’ menu has improved much, with artful presentation and good taste (it had been a bit ‘funny’ in the beginning as I tasted it on Symphony two years ago). There are three alternative dining choices in addition to the main restaurant, all offering good quality of food (rather than quantity in the number of available restaurants). All guests can dine twice in an alternative restaurant free (otherwise it is a mere cover charge of $35). Dining on Crystal Serenity is a real pleasure even for gourmets, and among the best at sea. Entertainment is never a strong area for Crystal. Ship size and mature passengers not really keen on shows do not justify lavish productions such as on sister company Dream Cruises, but the quality is good, and even more than on a big ship, there are always also alternative local shows in port in addition to the production show. Of these I watched one of the best acrobatic show at sea (or indeed on land) in the Balskat Duo which had performed with Circuit de Soleil. But I see the very same production shows that are old fashioned. The singers try to make more noises to lure the young, but I see few youngish passengers. The cruise director, Gary Hunter is a master of his trade, however. It is the most port intensive cruise that calls on a port very day, and all ports are interesting except for me, Gibraltar, which is however a convenient stop on route. The last night we stayed overnight in Lisbon. Valencia was the first port of call and the free shuttle takes passengers directly to the old town. It was a great visit, walking old streets and seeing various historic landmarks. Next port is Alicante and we arrived on a Spanish holiday that most shops are closed, but the town is beautiful and even with some initial rain it still makes a day of pleasant stroll. The weather was cool and pleasant. Malaga is next, and alas there was no sunshine on the Costa del Sol on our arrival. Some rains in the morning and I wonder if those who took excursion to Seville fared better. Malaga itself is interesting and it is gateway to many interesting points. As a frequent visitor to this region, I did not rush to any places, having seen them many times, and to me the ship is the destination Particularly the ship is Crystal, no matter rain or shine. Pouring rain in Gibraltar in the morning but it cleared up in the afternoon. I always think it is funny to see UK chain stores in town and here one dispenses the British pound. But Cadiz is interesting, as we had the full day I went out on my own in the afternoon my way while I have time to take an excursion in the morning. As if by bad luck it falls on another Spanish holiday, though many shops open for tourists. The morning excursion was good in that I visited sights slightly out of town that I had not seen out of my two previous visits. There was ample time to return to Cadiz proper for a stroll in its old streets in the afternoon. The trip ends in Lisbon and we stayed overnight here. It was good as there is much to see in Lisbon but a very strong wind arrived at dinner time so that the terminal was closed for the night. This is strange; though I am sure no one will opt to go ashore in such windy condition anyway. I took Crystal’s transfer to the airport early in the morning and the trip was perfectly organized, with many helpers that virtually take your luggage from ship to your check-in counter. This ends my very pleasant trip and I look forward to returning to Crystal Serenity when it operates the Open Sitting Dining. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Well where to start! This ship cruise was my very first ship cruise ever! Enjoyed the statement room my grandmother and I had, was a nice size just for the two of us. Dexter our stateroom attendant was very very nice, did an awesome job ... Read More
Well where to start! This ship cruise was my very first ship cruise ever! Enjoyed the statement room my grandmother and I had, was a nice size just for the two of us. Dexter our stateroom attendant was very very nice, did an awesome job keeping us happy. The entertainment on ship from live shows to yoga, movies in a nice huge theater to live musical bands were non stop. The cruise consisted of a 14 day and many stops from France, Italy, Greece and Malta! Which we took advantage of the many excursions there were to offer and see! The dining especially formal dining our waiter Davor was so awesome we kept coming back just to see his lovely smile! He was very attentive to us since we only sat at a two setting table. I got to try escargot for the first time and had any of the recommendations of the menu Davor had to offer. The manager sorry I can’t remember his name but is from India he was so awesome too, he always took the time to come by to just chat with us as well! Kuddos to both! So overall regardless of knowing this was a smaller ship have already recommended this same cruise with your company! I’m definitely am highly satisfied with the cruise I as well met many different people around the world! I am definitely coming back! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise Vacation ex Barcelona on MSC Fantasia. We have previously sailed with Celebrity, RCL, and Norwegian in The Caribbean, Alaska and on the Pacific coast, and this was our first European cruise and first with MSC. We are a married couple from Chicago who traveled with two single friends and we had adjoining cabins. We chose the Yacht Club package due to the all-inclusive feel, the price and the itinerary. This was a port-intensive trip with just two mornings at sea. One thing new to us was the idea of people embarking and disembarking at different ports throughout the cruise: on almost every cruise I can think we’ve been, we’ve had a complete passenger turnover on Day 1 of the cruise: not on MSC. Embarkation/ Boarding: Very smooth operation. Yacht Club personnel came to meet us (they must have seen the luggage tags) We were offered canapes and beverages while waiting for check-in. We were escorted in on the same line as everyone else, bypassing them as the butler led us on. No later than 20 minutes after boarding, we had our key cards and were given a tour of the Yacht Club enclave by our butler Germain who also thoroughly explained the workings of items in the cabin. The safety drill was an entire joke; no one was paying attention, least of all the Italians on board. The Cabin: 15001 is a large square room with an oversize balcony. The cabin was always perfectly maintained for the duration of the cruise, The TV screen was way too small for a cabin this size and was so far away from the bed that you could hardly enjoy anything on screen. We first always had to call for ice but after three evenings they got it and the ice bucket was always full when we got back. Europeans don’t use ice nearly as much as Americans; even our drinks had just a couple cubes compared to at home. Our friends next door had a regular size cabin; 15001 is really a nice cabin with extra space if that’s important to you. We had a large walk-in closet which had a lighting system operated by foot movement, so if you were in there not moving around you’d be left in the dark until you moved again! A bit disconcerting I suppose! We found it funny…. The bedding and bed linens/pillows were all amazingly comfortable and of a very high quality. A wide selection of toiletries was provided in the bathroom which had a bathtub/shower combination The Dining: Meals at L’Etoile were good but not stand-out exceptional. We had dinner there every evening, a few lunches, and just one breakfast which was slow but good. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We appreciated having this option as the regular ship buffet was always crowded and loud with people not keeping in lines. We ate there just once to try the pizza which was excellent. As a Yacht Club member you get to enjoy complimentary gelato throughout the ship, health bar shakes at tbe spa and chocolate cocktails at the Venchi bar on 6. On “Elegant” night (MSC doesn’t have “Formal”), we saw only two tuxedoes in Yacht Club, and most people dressed in smart “business casual” attire. Many men wore blazers and khakis, few even wore ties. I have no experience of what it was like in the main dining room but no one seemed to bother much about keeping to any kind of dress code. One nice thing about the Yacht Club was the personalized attention we received at all times on The One Pool deck and at the Top Sail Lounge, including Afternoon Tea service. The Entertainment: the Italian Operatic evening was enjoyable as was the French evening, but the others were just bad-mix combos of ballroom dancing, skipping-rope and street-dancing routines and I have seen better High School productions in theater. Elsewhere on the ship we had a pianist every evening at the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge., and there were various bands and musical entertainments elsewhere that we heard about but didn’t experience. One thing I noticed on MSC is that there are many more smoking sections in some of their indoor spaces than seem to be the case of the American cruises we’ve been on. The casino, the indoor lounges all allowed smoking (sections of the lounges were non-smoking but the smell of Febreze next morning—it is used liberally to get rid of cigarette smoke stink--was quite nauseating). Personally, I would prefer a non-smoking cruise option and will look for that on our next cruise vacation. The Spa: Yacht Club guests have access to the sauna and steam room areas at all times; there is a special elevator that takes Yacht Club guests directly into the area. Otherwise you have to enter the spa through the main doors on floor 14 which is like being attacked by mosquitoes, so aggressive are the spa staff at selling options and offers. A word to the wise: I tipped my service provider at the spa generously but realized after seeing my receipt that a 20% service charge is automatically added, so you do not need to tip unless you think your therapist deserves more than that. My therapist was exceptionally good at her job, professional and obviously well-trained. The ship in general: Very clean and well appointed. Shore excursions: Poor offerings from MSC so we did our own thing. Ajaccio: we walked off the ship and explored this French town on our own. Visited Napoleon’s birthplace and an art gallery and artisanal craft store. Typical French south-coast town. Nothing much to note except the main street closest to the harbor is exceptionally touristy and you have to go up the hill to the next level or two to get the real French town feeling. Rome: picked up a rental car in port of Civitavecchia (near train station: took shuttle from ship to port entrance and port entrance to station about 4 Euro round trip) and drove to Odaleschi Castle on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Lovely day, The castle is home to an Italian Princess Orsini, and is famous for its celebrity weddings, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I can see why… views are stunning. On the drive back we stopped at an Etruscan Necropolis and overall had a great day and were back on ship in time for a very late lunch at L’Etoile. La Spezia: took the public ferry from the port to Monterosso. We’ve been to the Cinque Terre before, and have actually hiked the trail, from Vernazza to Manarola but this time around were happy to see it from the water and to see Monterosso which is a lovely village. Took the train back and walked to the ship. We stopped at the hotel we had stayed at two years’ ago and the receptionist recognized us! It was amazing! Another exceptional and memorable day. So enjoyable! Geooa: took a walking tour of the old town with a local guide organized on get your guide dot com. This was a great tour and included entrance to the Palazzo Rosso which is memorable for its rooftop views in addition to its art collection. Also we were back on the ship in time for lunch and then had the afternoon which some of us explored on our own and others used the ship as a vacation destination! Cannes. Tendered here. Took a tour to Monaco and Eze with Viator dot com. Also highly recommend this company. Bring your passport: you can get a free souvenir passport stamp in the Monaco Tourist Office in Monte Carlo (opposite the Casino but uphill at other end of the garden). It’s a nice and colorful souvenir. Unlike most things in Monaco, it’s free. Saw the Changing of the Guard at the Grimaldi Palace, visited the small nearby Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, and visited their crypt. Vita Brevis. Enjoyed delicious ice-cream. The views of Antibes and Cap Ferrat from Eze are truly memorable. Eze is a lovely hillside village and is home to both the Fragonard perfumery and the Chevre D’Or. Walt Disney once visited here and it is obvious it inspired some of his work. We were lucky to get there early before the hordes of tour busses, and climbed to the sculpture garden at the summit for some of the best photos of our trip. Palma de Mallorca: MSC charging 14 Euro for a round trip bus transfer for what I consider a nice walk. Save money if the weather is not too hot and do it yourself. It’s less than a mile each way. We ended up taking the bus due to a travel companion’s foot problem and explored the Cathedral and Old Palma downtown. The ship was late in port this evening but we were back in time for dinner and wanted to enjoy our final evening on board. Excursions: we really saved a lot by going independently and lots of these ports are worth exploration; we had heard poor reports about value of ship excursions but no complaints at all about get your guide dot com or viator dot com, botb of which offered exceptional value and well-organized tours. MSC overall: Yes we really enjoyed this cruise but if we were not in Yacht Club we felt the ship had a crowded feel and a loud ambience. Once we entered the Yacht Club enclave everything became very quiet and peaceful and we loved spending time either on our balcony, in the Top Sail Lounge, or on the One Pool Deck. Nice touches included live piano music every evening, the free mini-bar in the suite and the daily newspaper that arrived with the morning coffee. I would choose MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. The wait staff and bartenders remembered our drinks, the concierge was exceptionally helpful and we were well looked-after. Packages: I pre-paid and saved 40% on the basic or standard internet package which lasted for the duration of the cruise. I also pre-paid for one of two massages that I had. We did not bother with photograph packages as we take enough on our phones! Our travel agent provided us a $250 shipboard credit per cabin which we applied towards things like laundry and spa services. Overall this was an excellent vacation and very relaxing. Disembark: we were first off the ship and our luggage was waiting, as was our driver; we had arranged a private full day tour of Barcelona and Montserrat and our luggage was stored securely on vehicle while we did this tour. It was an excellent introduction to our next four days in Barcelona before returning home. Photos: where to begin; they are all on my Google drive and it will take all winter to go through them! otherwise I'd upload a few here but cannot seem to be able to link to Google photos? Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how ... Read More
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how efficient the embarkment process was for all of us. Highlights: *We chose an inside stateroom, because, we are normally in the room 5 hours a day. Three adults and one large piece of luggage each and we had plenty of space. In May, two of us will share an outside view since there is so much sailing. *Dining main dining room service and food was fabulous! I have to say past poor reviews made me really attentive to quality and taste. We were very pleased. My gluten intolerant daughter was treated like a queen; she preordered her meals for the next night. If she chose to eat outside the dining room she was given Suresh Suyai, the head waiter's business card to get any assistance she needed. Min and Kevin were our table hosts. They were courteous, timely and funny! They recognized our anniversary with a cake and saw that all of our personal needs were taken care of. The head chef also came to the table to make sure we were pleased with our meals. *Gallery Brunch and Tour was more than a tour of massive proportion. My husband and I now truly appreciate the hard work of the kitchen and main dining staff, as well as the room service staff. Everyone should go on this tour and it should be offer at the beginning of the cruise to appreciate the operation of the dining facilities. *Staff: Adson was our server at Chops Grill. He was so pleasant and accommodating we cancelled our plans in the Main Dining room, to eat with him again. When we arrived it was clear he was working somewhere else and appeared within minutes to serve us. We would have preferred that he dined with us. He was took his role seriously, even though, he could be a comedian. His interactions with us sold us on specialty dining. We hope he is on our next cruise! *The ship was incredible! Everyone in our party from 21 years to 55 years loved the bars, casino, pool, dance clubs, spa and ships activities! *Excursions we went on the Palma De Mallorca city tour- the tour guide was very knowledgeable and humorous. Rome express train tour was perfect. It took us to the Vatican City and we were on our own for 6 hours. *Deluxe drink package was easy with the wristband, which should be free, but it's $4.99. I believe we came out ahead compared to purchasing each beverage separately. Before each excursion we would get Red bull and bottled water or coffee. As I stated, I'm anxious to invite my friends on the May 2019 trip out of Miami. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate ... Read More
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate just fine! As a solo traveller I was in the studio cabins and I was super happy with my room and the solo lounge. Our coordinator Ruby did a great job of bringing us together and although I didn’t see the entire group every night I had a base of friends I could spend my time with each night. My only recommendation is that dinner was too early at 6pm after a long day of excursion where I would literally arrive at 5:30. The excursions were amazing and well worth the price, I had some great tour guides which made the experience for me. The ship was beautiful and my favourite locations were Maltings Bar, older crowd and great drinks by Joseph! Shakers had amazing martinis and O’Sheehans was good for a late night snack or breakfast on the way to my excursion. In terms of food, I would say it was good not great and my favourite dinner location was The Manhattan Room and Cagney’s was great for a steak if you have the specialty restaurant package or just want to splurge was well worth it! Overall I had an amazing experience, met some great people and will definitely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Anyone that has read any reviews written by myself knows that i really love RCI and Symphony was just amazing, the ship is just WOW. The layout, colours, design and a few different features make this ship so different from Oasis, Allure ... Read More
Anyone that has read any reviews written by myself knows that i really love RCI and Symphony was just amazing, the ship is just WOW. The layout, colours, design and a few different features make this ship so different from Oasis, Allure and Harmony all of which are amazing in themselves. My Cabin was 10319 over looking the Broad Walk i loved it i have never had a cabin like this. My wonderful stateroom attendant Grafton Cain was great thank you. I so enjoyed having the main dining room back it is truly lovely and the service from Amid and Rossette were great. The menu was similar in many ways to what i have had before and i found the food to be really good.The Windjammer could be very busy i am told and i did see a few queues. The times i enjoyed the food for lunch in the Windjammer was a lovely experience again great staff and service really good. One note is there seems to be a little less choice to choose from than on other ships. This didn't worry me as i found the standard of the food to be really good. Park cafe was again really good as normal i had the lovely steak roll and of course a glass of Red from the Trellis bar. I found the food every where to be really enjoyable. I cannot comment on any of the speciality restaurants but from what i saw they were busy and people seemed to really enjoy the experience. I only saw the Aqua show which seemed amazing i watched this from my balcony cabin with a slight obstruction from the slides from the Abyss but still amazing you have to see this show. Other people told me they loved the Ice show, other singers bands and entertainers were really good. The service was great through out meeting up with Semuel Sabastio from the Trellis Bar and Erwina in Vintages ( wow I so enjoy Vintages) it was great catching up with them again. Symphony is just amazing with a few new features like Play Makers for example you have to see the HOT WING eating contest. The Diamond lounge was never busy and we had some lovely food for breakfast lunch (similar to Cafe promenade) and some lovely small bites in the evening If this is your first cruise or you have sailed on many cruises i think that you will enjoy Symphony. This ship offers an amazing experience Central park is one of my most memorable places especially in the evening. Thank you Royal for this most amazing time on Symphony. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
i am just back from Carnival Horizon ship. this is my fourth cruise with Carnival and the ship is amazing. the atmosphere was so happy and cool, the service all over the ship was fantastic, food was great in the buffet as well as in ... Read More
i am just back from Carnival Horizon ship. this is my fourth cruise with Carnival and the ship is amazing. the atmosphere was so happy and cool, the service all over the ship was fantastic, food was great in the buffet as well as in the beautiful dining room. also recommnded to eat at Bonsai, we had a great time there and definitely go to the pig & anchor pub which offers 4 kinds of homemade draft beers. the rooms are large and bright, the casino was big and very active and fun was all over including the shows and the comdian which i highly recommend to go at least one night. the hamburgers are big wow!! the ice cream is unforgettable ... i didn't sail with kids but i saw so many features that they will love! skyride, waterslides, video games, IMAX and many more. well done to Carnival! it's definitely best value for money !!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our first ever cruise, a 7 night round-trip from Barcelona. The cruise director and the crew seemed to have renamed the ship "The Beautiful Symphony of the Seas" and wow, were they right in that description! Upon ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, a 7 night round-trip from Barcelona. The cruise director and the crew seemed to have renamed the ship "The Beautiful Symphony of the Seas" and wow, were they right in that description! Upon boarding we were quite overwhelmed by the sight of the Royal Promenade, the lights, the atmosphere and happily accepted glasses of bubbly from a nearby waiter. Winding back a few minutes, check-in at Barcelona was less than smooth. Having checked-in online, submitting our photos and credit card details it was a bit weird to have to do all that again at the desk but that's a minor gripe. Our stateroom became available at 1pm and our bags followed not long afterwards. We were very impressed with it, spotless and pristine, as you'd expect from a new ship. Ample storage, comfortable large bed and a lovely balcony, it was a perfect base for our travels. The soundproofing was good, we barely heard anyone else either through the walls or door. Our corridor was near a busy kitchen but you could only tell when outside the room. Food was generally good. We used the Windjammer buffet a few of times for breakfast or lunch, a cheery welcome strongly encouraging guests to wash their hands before eating, good to see. The choice and quality was good and we had no concerns over the time the food was around. Each station was well staffed and the crew seemed to be on top of keeping things hot and stored correctly. We were a little taken aback by the behaviour of fellow guests, seeing people have their tables taken by others whilst at the buffet was a little inappropriate. Others seemed to take far more than they ever intended to eat but I guess that's probably a common occurrence on cruises. We tried the main dining room for the first two nights, having chosen My Time Dining we were on deck 4. Unfortunately on both occasions we were sat right at the back of the area in a small wing adjacent to the kitchen, so noise from there and constant traffic of servers affected the ambiance negatively. The food was a little disappointing. I am vegetarian but was happy with the look of the menu - 2 or 3 starters and 1 or 2 mains each evening. I had read about a veggie Indian dish being available and I ordered that which as delicious. The second day I chose a pasta dish which was simply awful. Stodgy, over-cooked and contained eight (!) whole garlic cloves. The server in the main dining room, remembered serving me a vegetarian curry the night before but still recommended a meat dish from the menu for me! No big deal but the vibe, service and food quality persuaded us to look at other options for the rest of the week. We tried the Solarium Bistro for evening meal which was very nice. A smallish buffet venue but with good staff serving drinks. The choice was varied and the quality was good. One drawback was most food was portioned into small dishes making plating up and transporting food tricky! Great views at the front of the ship from deck 15 as the sun set. On day 3 we thought we should try some of the specialty offerings for dinner. Not having booked any packages asked if they were still available. Certainly was the reply, $88 for 3 nights, which I thought was pretty good value. 150 Central Park was a beautifully-styled room and the food was pretty good. Service a little inattentive but generally a good experience. Jamie's Italian I love. We have quite a few of them in the UK and we've found that they've really gone downhill in the last 18 months or so but I thought hey, I'm sure Jamie will have trained the crew of this new ship well! And I was right, everything was excellent, the bruschetta, the garlic bread, the pasta, the fish. A really memorable experience with a buzzing atmosphere, loved it. Hooked was our third on our last night, primarily for my wife who loves seafood. She had crab cake, chowder and whole lobster! I'd asked about veggie ahead of the meal and they said they'd make anything for me so (spot a theme...) I asked for some pasta! And it looked remarkably like the one they were making at the pasta station in the Solarium Bistro... but it tasted good and that's all that matters really. Our server, Richard, was the sweetest thing, friendly, helpful and ordering appropriate sides without asking. The ship itself was fabulous. Very well thought out and designed. I'm sure there were thousands of guests but it rarely felt like it. We watched the theatre show Hairspray and were very impressed with the production. The bars were varied and decorated wonderfully. We particularly enjoyed the Schooner Bar with the resident pianist Paul O'Shea playing most evenings into the small hours. He was a real highlight, talented, amusing and gently amenable, even when a fellow guest seemed to request Bohemian Rhapsody every night... Other bars we liked were Dazzles, with an enjoyable live band, On Air for the odd chuckle at the Karaoke and the Bionic Bar for a fun evening kick-off with a robot delivered cocktail. The Rising Tide Bar moving between decks 5 and 8 was a cool place to soak up the view of the promenade and rise up to see the stars. The itinerary was packed, every day bar day 6 was a port day but we found ourselves rushing back to enjoy the ship more often than not having travelled well throughout Europe many times previously. So exciting and this trip will certainly change our holiday habits in future, a fabulous break and one we can't wait to do again. Very impressed with RCCL and the ship, we recommend it wholeheartedly and we will return. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I always wanted to try the inaugural sailing. I chose Carnival Horizon over Symphony of the Seas due to the itinerary. It turned out to be an amazing cruise. I and my sister had a fantastic time. We loved a few of the Port of Calls such as ... Read More
I always wanted to try the inaugural sailing. I chose Carnival Horizon over Symphony of the Seas due to the itinerary. It turned out to be an amazing cruise. I and my sister had a fantastic time. We loved a few of the Port of Calls such as Dubrovnik, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Taormina(Sicily) and Florence. The whole crew of the ship whether they were the cabin staffs, dining staffs or the other services staffs, whenever you encountered each of them, they were genuine friendly, courteous and helpful. Our cabin was kept immaculate by the room steward, Pedro and his crew. The dining staffs - Piotr and Katrina and another crew member I cannot recalled his name were kind and wonderful and provided such an impeccable services which kept us coming back every single night of the entire cruise. Due to their attentive services, we even forgo our Specialty dining. Food in the Fine Dining Restaurant were superb great. Entertainment director, Mike and his crew were great and entertainment were good. The whole ship were kept very clean at all time even with 4000 or more passengers onboard. I would definitely recommend this ship. Overall, it was excellent and amazing cruise with Carnival. The only downside was Barcelona, we encountered two groups of pickpocketers whom are very bold and aggressive. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was a great value. As a single I paid less than twice. The solo traveler host was great. Other than that it was just ok, no complaints, just ok, well delivered normal travel. This line ... Read More
I choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was a great value. As a single I paid less than twice. The solo traveler host was great. Other than that it was just ok, no complaints, just ok, well delivered normal travel. This line is not for those expecting something extra. Theydo what is promised but little else. The food, again, was ok. Obviously the specialty restaurants were pushed. Drinks were slightly high, with no happy hour, plus a 30% service and IVA additional charge. .... yes 30%. The dining room menu was repetitive. Many workers spoke, but did not really understand English. At times this meant the responses were unrelated or unresponsive to the question. Patience is needed and the feeling of following rules instead of helping the passengers is given. The purpose of this remark is meant to center on the frustration of passenger communications. Cruising is a lot of experiences. Norwegian does a good job on the basics, but not more. Then again, they have good pricing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My sister had taken a similar repositioning cruise a year ago (Lisbon to Rio) and said it was the best (out of 50 or so cruises), the food, the service, etc. We found the food exceptional, to the point that the diet began half way through ... Read More
My sister had taken a similar repositioning cruise a year ago (Lisbon to Rio) and said it was the best (out of 50 or so cruises), the food, the service, etc. We found the food exceptional, to the point that the diet began half way through the cruise, due to our weak will power in the early half. We did cheat occasionally on the crossing portion. The added-on amenities re gratuities, land-based tours, air fare, internet etc., all made it attractive. Loved the Barista coffee efforts and afternoon tea. At first we thought oceania was too secular with no Christmas/holiday decorations, then one night the staff did a fabulous job, trees, lights, wreathes, and had a big reveal of a life size gingerbread house up and running. There was a limited Sunday service on one Sunday, and a Hanukah candle lighting effort. We have travelled Holland America and know they make an effort to have a priest on board for religious services. With 1/3 or so of the ship empty, I would think that a great PR gesture would be to bump up passengers to a higher category, e.g. one or two above their booked arrangements. How to make a customer even more loyal! I challenge the entertainment people to help all with diets and discipline, e.g have a weigh in on the first and last day with simple prizes to the smallest gainers! I'm serious!!!! Accompanying that, the fitness area should have nutrition seminars, given the age demographics of the cruisers. There may have been something but I missed it and the concern that I would be hit by a big bill, e.g. my wife came back from a $200 massage that helped! I also think that in the dining rooms, it would be so simple to ask the size of the portion requested, e.g. small, medium or large, rather than waste food. I found the library weak on layout and titles, compared to the Nautica. Luckily, we both had loaded up our tablets. Given the size of the ship, on board (crossing) activities were limited, although we did enjoy 2 of the movies and the dance groups in the Marina. I regret not using the fitness area more. I appreciated the enrichment speaker, particularly her presentation on migration to America. As a semi-retired professor/teacher, I give her full marks. On a six day crossing, so much more (e.g. 2x a day) could be given on interesting topics, e.g. Christmas traditions across the world, academic opportunities to learn re other Oceania cruises to become better informed, e.g. about Britain and Brexit, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean countries, European locations re WW1 and WW2, history of early ocean/new world crossings, e.g. the Leif Erikkson and the Vikings, and the other early explorers, Vasco de Game, Magellan and the Portuguese, Captains Cook and Vancouver. I saw where the Chinese may have been to Kenya long before Europeans. Other aspects of major crossings, the slave trade, formation of hurricanes off Cape Verde, the gulf stream, pollution of the oceans with plastics. I found the early arrival costs inhibiting, e.g. the diversion fare to come a few days earlier, and the hotels that Oceania were advertising in Barcelona, e.g. $400+ per person per night as an example. Knowing that Barcelona with its recent terrorist strike, and separation referendum has plummeted tourism, it would have been a welcome move to make early travel more inviting and welcome to the Barcelona and Catalonian economy. Following the insider news on the situation, could have reassured potential passengers of the safety. Would we do Oceania again. By all means! Hopefully my thoughts are considered seriously. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was planned before Hurricane Irma and the loss of st thomas made a gigantic mess for immigration which both our government and ncl made no seen attempt to repair. I chose this for my first transatlantic and it might be my last. A ... Read More
This was planned before Hurricane Irma and the loss of st thomas made a gigantic mess for immigration which both our government and ncl made no seen attempt to repair. I chose this for my first transatlantic and it might be my last. A combination of being on these for almost 40 years and 20 during the last 4 with different lines I thought I could do no wrong I trusted NCL and they put me right under adult splash which meant little running feet above head until all hours of the night just for a start. The ship is a one off french creation and backwards just like their aviation creations, weird with lots of wasted space and no direct lighting where that is needed to dress in the inside cabins. I went to book onboard to find they had dropped a great benefit; double points when you book 9 months ahead so added to the overcooked food, too much salt, times when there was no teabags or cups at the buffet. The cabin was almost all bathroom with the sink almost unusable and splashes on all our writing papers. steward locked the refrigerator 15 hours too early and the management tried to make us pay tips twice. The seats in bliss are engineered to get you right in your funny bone and the taste restaurant had the hardest seats found anywhere so after an hour I head to leave. activities were almost enough to keep all busy with extra costs in great abundance. I immediately asked for a wheelchair to get off the ship and the dammed ramps are almost more the a plus 6 foot tall guy to handle, indeed I pulled muscles in my right arm which will take months to repair. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my first cruise on NCL and I booked it for the solo cabin that I was fortunate to find. The price was right as was the sailing date. I flew over from Denver on Norwegian Air as many other passengers did. ( Norwegian Air is not ... Read More
This was my first cruise on NCL and I booked it for the solo cabin that I was fortunate to find. The price was right as was the sailing date. I flew over from Denver on Norwegian Air as many other passengers did. ( Norwegian Air is not related to Norwegian Cruise Line). Service is virtually non-existentant on Norw. Air - bring your own blanket and pillow. But the airplanes are brand new 787's. And the airfare is great for one way travel. Check in for the cruise in Barcelona was quick and orderly. I ended up in an inside cabin even though I had booked a solo cabin. Even the inside cabins are very small, about 110 sq. ft. OK for a single person occupancy - no chair, coffee table or settee. However the cabin was very quiet. The ship is enormous and from the exterior is for lack of a better word, ugly. It appears that two different architects designed the ship - one from the rear and the other from the front. Looks like someone placed an egg crate at the very front of the ship. The decor is gloomy with lots of faux dark wood paneling throughout. The Garden Cafe is Walmart retro - egg shell white throughout with matching white plastic chairs and chrome Christmas tree lighting. At least there are windows in the cafe whereas all other public decks are inside. So much for the negatives! The solo traveler program is absolutely first class. Every evening the solo's meet for cocktails, karaoke, or games. After the social hour it was off to dinner with our host and then to the theater for a show. So you got to meet many fellow solo's and many friendships developed. I can't say enough about the solo program. Food on the ship exceeded my expectations. With so many passengers there is an unending variety to choose from. Dinner in the MDR varied from so so to excellent. The service, however, takes place at a snails pace - two hours minimum for dinner. In the Garden Cafe service is exceptional with tables cleaned and bused immediately. If you go up for a second cup of coffee, your table will be cleaned before you get back. And there are always crew to assist. All venues with music suffer from extreme sound- bring your earplugs. The smaller rooms for the bands are simply too small so the sound becomes deafening as it does at the pool area. On the other hand deck 18 forward is a quiet area with lots of deck lounges so you can escape the constant din on deck. All in all, this cruise was wonderful. Good weather and the crew more than makes up for the shortcomings of this backward ship. Never been on a cruise ship where the food is in the front and the entertainment is aft. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017

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