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1,023 Barcelona to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Our cruise buddies wanted desperately to go to the Meditteranean so we somewhat reluctantly said yes. We picked a June 2 departure our of Barcelona. Flew into Barcelona two days before and had a great time in Barcelona. So much to see ... Read More
Our cruise buddies wanted desperately to go to the Meditteranean so we somewhat reluctantly said yes. We picked a June 2 departure our of Barcelona. Flew into Barcelona two days before and had a great time in Barcelona. So much to see and do. I was dissappointed that NCL didn't have any pre-cruise activities so we booked our own Barcelona tour and it was great. Struck out on our own the night before the cruise and went down to the beach and ate paella overlooking the Med and it was great. On cruise day, we arranged for transport to the cruise doc and embarkation was very smooth. The least smooth part was all the port personnel telling us to go in different directions, but finally got the eye of an NCL employee who herded us in the right direction. (There were at least three other ships leaving on the same day, so some confustion was inevitable. Luggage made it to the room in record time and our first day at sea was crowded on deck as you'd imagine, but finding a deck chair was easier than I expected, especially if you went in mid afternoon as people were starting to filter out and there was still plenty of sunshine to enjoy. First stop was Naples. All the excursions stopped by the cameo factory. Boring, but I figure they make all the cruise excursions stop there because somebody has connections. It is mercifully short. Our next stop was the hike up Mt. Vesuvius. Fairly strenuous, and the weather was nice up high, but bugs were horrible. Not biters, but if you opened your mouth, you'd get an extra dose of protein. Afternoon was spent in Pompeii and it was great. The hightlight was that the "house of ill repute" was open while we were there and got an extra eyefull of the risque parts of the city. As the afternoon wore on, it got more crowded. Second stop was Citeveche...Citevecche...Rome. Our excursion of choice was the Off The Beaten Path tour which went to several medival villages. It was not crowded and our visit to the City of Bagnoreggio (sp?) was great. Not crowded but a pretty hefty walk up to the city. Very old town. Quaint restaurants that were not crowded and definitely off the beaten path. Third stop was Pisa. The City was crowded beyond belief. After taking the mandatory photos of the church and bell tower, our tour guide escorted us to a nearby church that was home to the knights of Malta. Very interesting and a great relief from the maddening crowds. In the afternoon we went to the winery at IFattoria il Poggio. Although the winery was crowded they knew how to handle things. A nice meal of pasta, ensalada, and the hard breads, olives, etc. but the highlight was that they served 7 different wines. Not a little splash in the glass, but full bottles on the table and as one was emptied another promptly took it's place. All in all, a good day/ Fourth stop was Cannes, FR, but the appeal of ritzy stores and name dropping celebrities didn't hold much for us, so all we did was pay about 8 euros to take the little tram tour of the city and went back on the boat. The fifth stop was supposed to be Mallorca, but the morning before we were supposed to dock, the Captain came on and said a guest had gone missing. Unfortunately a 64 y.o. Korean woman went overboard and was never found. The ship spent the day crisscrossing the area where she was suspected of going overboard. Helicopters, search planes and other ships could be seen all day. They asked passengers to help scan the area around the ship, but it was a fairly bumpy day with 5-10' seas and whitecaps which made visual scanning for someone next to impossible. Obviously, the stop in Mallorca was cancelled, but I was not terribly dissappointed because the stops didn't seem all the interesting. What I liked most about the cruise? It's a big ship. There was always someplace to go but if you went up to the pool deck it was crowded. The outdoor bars were very busy but I thought the bartenders did an excellent job of keeping up with everyone. Food was good as expected and if you wanted to complain about something, it would be how crowded the dining areas were. However, during peak times, they did an excellent job of having many different serving areas stocked and available. My biggest complaints? I am a nature person and I was dissappointed that there were no nature or outdoor oriented excursions. Most of the popular stops were insanely crowded and you had to go out of your way to find someplace that was not crowded. My biggest dissappointment was in the Cirque de Dreams performance. The performance was excellent. No complaints there, but we paid extra for priority seating and my seat was in the very back where it was extremely difficult to see. Even though we paid for priority seating, we were just stuck where ever there was space and even though we were there 15 minutes early, we had to stand our ground to be seated together. So overall, it was a good cruise with several very enjoyable moments. However, this was largely offset by the crowds which we knew going in would be considerable. Barcelona was by far the most enjoyable city and I wish we would have spent an extra 3-4 days there when we disembarked. Good? Yes. Would I do it again? No, but I'd go back to Barcelona in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
EPIC may be a great cruise ship for the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, Italy, and France are the epic draw while the ship offers a decent experience while getting you from port to port. It's not a bad ship. If you're booked on her ... Read More
EPIC may be a great cruise ship for the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, Italy, and France are the epic draw while the ship offers a decent experience while getting you from port to port. It's not a bad ship. If you're booked on her for a future cruise, you won't really be disappointed. It's just not a standout. Certainly, there are several impressive features. NCL's freestyle vibe is refreshing. The entertainment is quite impressive (The Beatles, Burn the Floor, Priscilla, and Cirque Dreams are stellar). And there's plenty onboard fun to keep every member of the family busy. For this and many more reasons, EPIC is a good cruise ship. It's just not a great cruise ship. This was our 9th cruise, but our first on Norwegian. So maybe some of my comments aren't so much about EPIC as they are about NCL in general. If you're a huge EPIC or NCL fan, I promise to balance the negatives with an equal number of positives. Embarkation in Barcelona could not have been more smooth. The entire process probably lasted no more than twenty minutes. Boarding a ship that is already half-full of passengers who embarked in another port was a completely new experience for us. That made it quite interesting. Even though each passenger reports for only one muster drill, there is one every Sunday and Wednesday. We had open minds about the split bathroom concept. We had read many different opinions about it. In the end, it's not a deal breaker, of course, but it is just plain weird. At one point, my hands were full and our kind cabin steward wanted to help me into the room. Normally this would be wonderful, but I could hear my wife in the frosted glass shower, which is immediately at the door when you walk in. The privacy curtain only separates the toilet/shower from the rest of the stateroom and not from anyone who comes walking into the room. Odd and kind of creepy. This room setup could create some awkward moments for families! In our case, the bed was closer to the door and across from the sink (yes, out in the middle of the room). This meant that it was also next to the toilet which is enclosed in a sliding frosted glass-style sort-of phone booth type thing. There's a reason this design was never duplicated anywhere else in the fleet. The wavy walls are really attractive, though, and the rooms look sleek and modern. There's abundant storage everywhere. We had an aft cabin on the 13th floor, and the balcony was generously sized. We would love to have had lounge chairs out there, and there would have been more than enough room. The two chairs and table were adequate, though. Nobody takes a cruse for the TV experience, but if you expect to fall asleep watching riveting entertainment, you'll be disappointed. There's one international movie channel, one "favorites" movie channel, a host of NCL promotional channels, a few news channels based in Europe, and an Italian network or two. Dining on EPIC was an outstanding experience for us. We ate in Cagney's, Shanghai, La Cucina, Taste, Teppanyaki, and the Cirque Dreams experience. The food met or exceeded our expectations and the service was always attentive and friendly. I am a generous tipper, but I did find it a bit much to have an extra tip line for "outstanding" service on the check when I had already prepaid dining tips upon signing up for this package. These are completely separate tips from the overall prepaid tips you always pay before a cruise. So, essentially, I ended up tipping twice for four meals. Nobody made me do it, of course, but I did feel kind of like it was expected. The public areas on the ship are beautiful. EPIC is a luxurious ship, and it shows. However, there are almost no ocean views from any public spaces (except, oddly enough, one entire wall of windows in the men's room on the pool deck). While it would have been nice to see more of the amazing Mediterranean views when in interior public spaces, there are plenty of views from the pool deck and Spice H20 in the rear of the ship. The library and game room are really big, and I found it fun walking through the casino to get from one end to another on deck 6. We found other ships we've sailed to have more public spaces, but it seems that NCL likes to dedicate a good bit of real estate to the Haven, which is off limits to guests who are not booked there. Being only two of us, and with such a port-intensive itinerary, we chose not to spend the extra money on the Haven, as we were off the ship for up to eight or nine hours each day. It would have been nice to escape the awkward bathroom situation, though. And for that reason alone, I would recommend the Haven to families who cruise on EPIC, in spite of the fact that its very existence seems to split guests into "classes" a bit more than I prefer on a cruise ship. That seems to be the trend on many lines, though, so I don't fault NCL for offering a quiet space away from crowds and lines. We did private tours in Italy, and they were wonderful. But our excursion booked through NCL for The French Riviera (Monaco, Nice, Eze, Monte Carlo) was equally as amazing. The bus was clean, cool, and comfortable, and our tour guide was awesome. Her communication skills and knowledge of the region were highly impressive. We loved this tour! Going on EPIC soon? You'll have some things to overlook, but it's a large, fun, comfortable ship that takes you to enchanting places on the Med. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We sailed on the Seaview out of Barcelona on 1 June 2019 for 7 nights. We were a party of 3 - Me, my wife (both 36) and our 4 year old daughter. My wife and I had cruised before (one Princess to Caribbean and one Celebrity to Central ... Read More
We sailed on the Seaview out of Barcelona on 1 June 2019 for 7 nights. We were a party of 3 - Me, my wife (both 36) and our 4 year old daughter. My wife and I had cruised before (one Princess to Caribbean and one Celebrity to Central America) but both were pre-child. Prior to the cruise I read the mixed reviews and was a little apprehensive, but thankfully had a very enjoyable cruise. Embarkation was very smooth. We boarded in Barcelona. Our ticket had an embarkation time if 2.30pm, but we turned up at about 11.30am and it was no bother. We stayed in a Fantastica balcony cabin which had a Queen size bed, and the sofa had been converted into a single bed. I ended up in the single bed due to 4 year old 'sleeping issues' but it was actually very comfortable, as was the Queen sized bed according to my wife! The cabin was well laid out, and still had that 'shiny and new' feel to it. The wardrobe space was a bit limited but we got by. My review is limited to the extent that we were in bed most nights by 10pm due to the little one being an early riser, so I am not able to comment on the 'parties' (flower party, white party, space party etc) as these started at 11.30pm. This is in keeping with being a European cruiseline; most things are done later in the evening. In the evenings, we at in the MDR 4 nights, the Pan Asian specialty dining on 1 night, and the buffet on 2 nights (just due to activities earlier in the day). I found the food on the while to be good. The buffet was varied and plentiful. It was only very busy in Rome at breakfast time, when lots of people were leaving the ship early for an excursion or to disembark. The MDR was better than buffet, and I had no complaints at all. Our waiter Suryer was very friendly, and the area supervisor Alex introduced himself to us, and was happy to discuss any issues we had. The quality of the food was not as good as Celebrity, but we were in Aqua class so no wonder to be honest. In my view, the dining experience in the MDR was perfectly acceptable and we looked forward to heading there each evening. Anytime Dining does exist, but only for Aurea and above grades of experience. If you don't have anytime dining, then the dining times are 6pm, 8pm, or 10pm. I did not experience any surly or rude staff that seems to be a repeating theme on some of the negative reviews. In fact, quite the opposite. Many staff made a fuss of my daughter which was very nice. We did not have a drinks package, and just ordered the drinks we wanted to have here and there. Each day, there was a hour of 2 for 1 cocktails in the Wine and Cocktail lounge (normally 5.30pm to 6.30pm), which was great because our dining time was 6pm. The Pan Asian specialty restaurant was delicious. We had a 'dinner and bubbles' package which included 3 courses for 2 adults, and a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Reserve champagne for €115. It was a little overpriced on reflection, and I probably would not do it again (the food alone was €39 a person ordering from a set menu). As for entertainment, the evening shows were amazing! We went to 6 of the shows. It's fair to say that the shows each followed a similar theme of singing, dancing, and circus type acts, but they were all very entertaining and had a large production value. The singers were seriously good too. We only went to one of the kids club acts, which was junior MasterChef. The kids club area was large but we were off the ship every day so didn't use it a great deal. In addition, there was a limited proportion of English speaking children on the cruise, and the staff have to communicate in 5 languages which can be difficult for a 4 year old to follow. This is no criticism, it's just something that has to be done on a European cruise. You get used to all public announcements being made 4/5 times (Italian, English, Spanish, German, Portuguese). I would say that English first-language guests account for about 10% of passengers. Fine for me, but if you are a cruiser that likes to strike up conversation with new people then opportunities will be few and far between (unless you can speak other languages of course). As with anything, there are some things that MSC could/should try and do better. The kids splash park is great fun, but there is nowhere around that pool for adults to sit to observe their children. This means children are either unaccompanied, or the adults have to go in too. This could be better designed. Also, the other pools are all 6 feet deep so children cannot use them unless they have floating aids. For a 'family focussed' cruiseline it is not well designed. There does seem to be a real push for upselling on the cruise, and this can grate at times. There are frequently staff seeking to sell specialty dining, lots of photos (although we still bought 10!) Even a one litre plastic bottle of water in the MDR is €3, which is a con. Drinks are overpriced too. These are relatively minor criticisms but could be addressed by MSC for a better cruise experience. Would I cruise with MSC again? Yes, but I would not sail with my child until they are about 10/11, and can appreciate different languages and follow staff going in and out of English. Without child, I would certainly cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night ... Read More
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night in Rouen, France which changed the ability to spend an evening in Paris which was our plan. Azamara's goal is to make this a boutique cruise catering to a smaller group of people. Our ship was to capacity with 690 guests on board. The attempt is a good one and the entertainment is definitely top notch. However, to compare this line to Windstar or Seabourne on anything but entertainment would be a disappointment. The crew is friendly, food is good, not exceptional, staterooms are small and the bathrooms are tiny. The idea of all inclusive beverages is a bit misleading as they up sell 2 different drink packages to include certain mixed drinks and certain brands of liquor. On the included drink package if you want to order say a mojito, you must specifically ask for the basic liquor or they charge you for it. There is a very basic list of drinks that can be ordered on the regular package anything that differs from that list, if you don't specifically ask for the included liquor package, will be charged to your room. It cheapens the experience. On other boutique cruise lines all drinks are included unless you specifically ask for the top shelf liquor, then you are charged for a top shelf liquor. On the positive side, they have a wonderful smoothie bar in the buffet every morning. All food in the buffet is labeled for gluten,dairy,vegan etc. Some of the staff are better than others when it comes to accommodating dietary needs. Gluten free was a trick for many and by the end of the cruise I gave up asking for GF items ie bread as it seemed liked too great a challenge and just ate the items I knew were GF. We had a balcony state rooms which was nice. Smaller than other ships but adequate. The bathroom is a joke. Literally, no room for 2 people to stand in the space. To brush our teeth while the other person was brushing theirs, one of us would have to get in the shower to accommodate for space. (We're not large people). Entertainment was by far much better than other boutique lines. Cruise director Eric is extremely talented and ran a fabulous entertainment department. I would sale on Azamara again but I would consider it a nice cruise line not a luxury boutique line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I sailed in one of the studio staterooms for a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise. It was a very port-intensive cruise, and looking back I might have enjoyed a bit more time on this huge ship. There are a lot of things to do aboard the ... Read More
I sailed in one of the studio staterooms for a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise. It was a very port-intensive cruise, and looking back I might have enjoyed a bit more time on this huge ship. There are a lot of things to do aboard the Epic, and a lot of good choices were made in its design. Check-in at the port in Barcelona was really quick and smooth. I was worried that my small studio cabin would feel too small. And the toilet & shower definitely feel too small, but overall I like it. I liked the access to the Studio Lounge as well. I will return to a studio stateroom just like this in the future, and I can recommend it for other solo travelers. That said, there are some annoyances. The motion-activated light in the WC does not work consistently, and I wish the bed weren't just two twins shoved together without being joined by a single mattress pad. Decks 5 and 6 are full of exciting places, and there's always a lot of fun energy down there. The atrium hosts presentations, games, and performances, and it's easy for people in other parts of those decks to get pulled in to the good times over there. It contributes to the fun deck-6 bar/restaurant O'Sheehan's, where people often pass the time by peering over the railing to see what's going on in the Atrium. O'Sheehan's is a complimentary meal venue, and has bowling, TVs, and other bar games in addition to being near the casino. Really fun atmosphere in that whole area. Food is mediocre to good. Moderno Churrascaria was notably not worth the cover for me. The meat just wasn't exceptional enough. But I loved my meal at Cagney's Steakhouse. All the complimentary options were pretty average, and the Garden Cafe, the buffet on the upper decks, was pretty unenticing. Entertainment was pretty good overall. The quality of the performers was excellent, but I was disappointed to observe that the big productions in Epic Theater don't include a live band. The singers sing along with a recording, including the big "Broadway" production, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. But I was really impressed with the Cirque Dreams Epicurean production. It was in a unique little space near the Epic Theater, and for a cover charge you get an above-average meal and a high-quality display of dazzling acrobatics. On the upper decks at the stern there's a sort-of-adults-only area that can be a fun place to relax. They have a huge movie screen where they're usually showing movies, but there is a giant chunk in the middle of the screen that doesn't work. I have no patience for that; it would have been nice to relax there and watch a movie in that environment, but because it was broken, I didn't do that. This ship was very clean. Sanitizing stations were ubiquitous, and beyond that I also just didn't notice anything anywhere that didn't seem like it wasn't diligently kept clean and tidy. The studio area has a smattering of "vending area" rooms, with empty vending machines. It was oddly difficult to find out what the weather was going to be like at the next port. The informational channel on the stateroom monitor would flash through a weather screen which said "Weather: not available" every single day of the cruise. And when I asked at the guest services desk one day for the weather at the next port, the guy straight-up lied. He was caught off guard by the question and looked at his computer for an uncomfortable amount of time before eventually saying: "Sunny. 32 degrees Celsius." It turned out to be a rainy day in the mid-to-upper teens. My NextCruise experience is an unpleasant memory. I'm not likely to do it again. The different people at the desk weren't prepared to answer questions like, "what can I get for in 2020?" They wanted me to have already identified the cruise I wanted based on the pamphlets they had. But the pamphlets don't have prices. They suggested going to the library and using the computers in there to browse cruises, but the computers in there don't let you do that, so I spent 2 hours in my room trying to do that on my tablet with the pathetically slow internet on the ship. And that didn't even get me that far. I hate that I wasted 2 hours of my cruise doing that. There's a sign that says "Cruise Consultant" in that area but I don't feel like they have such a thing as a "cruise consultant" available to us. But I did book another cruise on a different NCL ship with the same kind of studio staterooms, because I really like that type of cruising. I also really like Norwegian's fun, casual atmosphere. The Epic is a good ship but I think they have opportunities to make it more exceptional. If it were up to me, I'd start with the food offerings. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We did the Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in May 2019 on the Oasis. The cruise itself was OK. We did have a really good time but there are a few things we would def. change. Boarding was easy. Rooms were ready at 1pm. Food ... Read More
We did the Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in May 2019 on the Oasis. The cruise itself was OK. We did have a really good time but there are a few things we would def. change. Boarding was easy. Rooms were ready at 1pm. Food in windjammer was good. Sorrentos pizza also great for late night. The hot dog stand was meh. The coffee was awful. There is no creamer - only milk on this sailing. We did not do any specialty dining restaurants. Our server was great. We saw all the shows. Some nights there were jammed packed with various shows and other nights we struggled with finding things to do. We loved the ice skating show, come fly with me and the comedian. PALMA DE MALLORCA - We made a huge mistake by not taking the shuttle. The taxi lines were horrendous and we tried to walk to town and then catch a cab which was also a nightmare. We eventually got cabs to the Bellver Castle and the Cathedral but wasn't worth the hassle. do yourself the favor and pay the 10e for the shuttle. MARSEILLES - Took the shuttle to town 20e and then rented the stand up scooters to go all around town. It was a blast. We then took the petite train to the Notre Dame Church. It was fantastic. LA SPEZIA - We used Italytours.eu to go to Pisa/Florence. It was a long drive. Over and hour to pisa and over another over to Florence and then almost 2 hour drive back. It was still worth it. We were in Pisa for an hour and Florence for 2.5 hours. ROME - Another tour with Italytours.eu. 90 minutes to Rome - Saw Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona, St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican/Sistine Chapel. It was a long day and we were not crazy about the driver or tour guide but not sure we would have seen as much on our own. NAPLES - Took high speed ferry to Capri. Got a late start and ended up in Capri around 11am. Right when we arrived we brought return ticket. The latest time left for 4:10. Lines for bus were long so we caught a open top taxi to Ana Capri (25e) and then took the chairlift to the peak. We then hiked all the way back down to the port. From there we went to the town of Capri and over to the gardens of augustus. We got back to Naples in time for pizza before heading back to ship. SEA DAY - Though after such a port intense itinerary and rest day was welcomed - we were also ready to go home - would have much rather done the itinerary in reverse starting with sea day then 3 busy ports followed by 2 smaller ports. Overall we had a great time. Flew from Miami spent 3 days in Barcelona in advance. Ready to Plan our next vacay :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to experience a Mediterranean cruise with our daughter and son-in-law. I have long believed in the Royal Caribbean brand and, for the most part, they filled my expectations. The Oasis class of ships are the largest in the world ... Read More
We wanted to experience a Mediterranean cruise with our daughter and son-in-law. I have long believed in the Royal Caribbean brand and, for the most part, they filled my expectations. The Oasis class of ships are the largest in the world so the ship is beautiful and has a lot to offer. I also sailed on its sister ship, Allure, last year. Coincidentally, the same band, Centerpiece Band, performed on both sailings and they are outstanding. Very talented group and a lot of fun to perform with during the Live Band Karaoke activities. In terms of other entertainment, there was not a lot of activities and the theater shows were not as varied as they used to be. RCL's food quality however has declined since I first sailed with them over 15 years ago. It used to be that you could look forward to a high-end entrée in the Main Dining room every night culminating in Lobster Night on one of the Formal Nights. Not anymore...with all the Specialty Dining options that you have to pay extra for, the Main Dining Room food quality has definitely declined. Even at the Specialty restaurants, lobster is an extra fee on top of the extra you paid to dine there in the first place. Our stateroom was great as was our attendant. We have never experienced any issues with that. Our shower had a slow drip which was quickly fixed when we advised our attendant. We booked a Cinque Terre shore excursion through the ship that was cancelled due to rough sea conditions (it was a boat excursion). That happens, but had it not been for our daughter telling us that she received a cancellation notice in her stateroom the night before, we would never have known as they left us no notice. Furthermore, with technology available on the ship, it would be a lot more efficient and effective to do a Push Notification on the App as everyone is always carrying their cell phones with them. The Shore Excursion desk closed at 9pm so they would not help advise us on our alternatives until the next morning. Fortunately, we got some great advise from Guest Services on how to get to Cinque Terre via train. As it turned out, we spent less than 50 Euros to get there for the two of us versus the nearly 400 Euros for the Excursion! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Itinerary and time of year were good. The ship itself was clean and the staff were lovely. Our butler was fantastic. The sky suite however - not acceptable. We've sailed with Celebrity 3 times and all were on S class (just so you ... Read More
Itinerary and time of year were good. The ship itself was clean and the staff were lovely. Our butler was fantastic. The sky suite however - not acceptable. We've sailed with Celebrity 3 times and all were on S class (just so you know I'm comparing apples to apples) The loveseat was filthy. Stains that should have been cleaned long ago and if not possible, replace the loveseat. It makes one wonder about sanitation. The top sheet on the bed was frayed every day. Granted, the part that's tucked into the bed, but I sleep with the sheets pulled out and that's how I saw their condition. Clean, yes. But frayed. There is also something in the bath water, or the cleaning supplies used in the tub because I broke out in a rash everywhere the bathwater touched. This is the 2nd year in a row on the same ship. So I started using the bottled water for my face and neck and presto - no rash. Of course, I can't bathe in bottled water, nor do I really know if it's a water problem or a detergent, but something's not right. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My husband and I arrived in Barcelona with our two adult children and met up with six other family members two nights prior to our cruise. We stayed at Hotel Sixtytwo, which is centrally located and makes it possible to walk to many of the ... Read More
My husband and I arrived in Barcelona with our two adult children and met up with six other family members two nights prior to our cruise. We stayed at Hotel Sixtytwo, which is centrally located and makes it possible to walk to many of the sights. We had a family room with two bedrooms & two baths. While there, we visited La Pedrera and took a half-day tour of the city that included Sagrada Familia, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, and the Gothic and Jewish quarters just to name a few. There is so much to see in Barcelona, and we plan to return for a longer visit. Embarkation Day: We used Ziptransfers to transport us from the hotel to port. The driver was on time and skillfully dodged traffic to get us there as quickly as possible. We arrived around 11:30 am. At the port, we handed our luggage to the porter and waited in line to enter the cruise terminal. Although the line was already quite long, it moved fairly well. After going through security and having our carry on scanned, we once again lined up to check-in and have our key cards issued. We weren't overly impressed with staff there. They all seemed miserable; no one smiled or wished us a pleasant cruise. One man directing the passengers kept yelling "hurry up"; not very hospitable at all. It wasn't until we were on the ship that we saw smiling faces and were welcomed aboard. We've taken more than a dozen cruises, mostly with Royal Caribbean, one with Carnival, and this was the third for me with NCL. Having read all the reviews on the Epic, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect but kept an open mind. We had the "Free At Sea" promotion and chose the beverage package, specialty dining package and 250 minutes of Wifi. We first headed to the Garden Cafe to grab some lunch since our cabins weren't scheduled to be ready until 2 pm. We couldn't help but smile at the attendant with spray bottle of hand sanitizer "Washy, washy; Happy, happy!" The ten of us managed to find tables together and squished our carry ons between us. The food at the buffet was okay, about average compared with other cruises we've taken. After an announcement that the cabins were ready, we departed the Garden Cafe and made our way to our respective rooms. Our steward brought our luggage ten minutes after we arrived. The odd design of the balcony cabin was no surprise to us. We made it work but would much rather have had a separate bathroom than having the shower on one side and the toilet on the opposite side of the cabin entrance with frosted glass sliding doors and the sink basically at the foot of the bed. The sink was so small that when you washed your hands, they almost touched the bottom of it. It reminded me a little of the spit sink in the dentist office. You could actually sit on the bed while brushing your teeth. My husband and I are both tall, and our feet hung over the edge of the mattress, but the bed itself was comfortable. There was plenty of closet space, drawers, and storage for everything. The empty luggage fit under the bed easily. I can't imagine three people sharing this space. Sleeping on the odd-shaped sofa would be difficult. The lighting was terrible, especially for putting on makeup. Our adult children shared an inside cabin, which was similar to inside cabins on other ships with the exception of the odd bathroom design. Once unpacked, we met up with the others in our group. I was in charge of making the dinner reservations and did my best to arrange them prior to the cruise, which was an exercise in futility. We ended up with 9 pm reservations, and I was informed by NCL that only 30% of the reservations are available pre-cruise and that I wouldn't have a problem getting earlier ones as long as I did it as soon as I got onboard. I went to Headliners where representatives from the various restaurants and shows took reservations and was lucky that there was no line. I managed to secure space at both the specialty and complimentary dining rooms at the times I requested as well as to reserve the Burn the Floor show. We spent a bit of time orienting ourselves and exploring the ship before our dinner reservation at La Cucina. The ten of us arrived and were seated right away. We enjoyed our meals and celebrated Mother's Day and the start to our cruise. The service was excellent, and the food was pretty good overall. After dinner, we saw the Beatlemania show at the Epic Theatre. The band did a great job imitating the Beatles. We all had a wonderful time and found ourselves singing along with many of the songs. The first night we experienced a storm, which made the ship rock quite a bit. I'm an experienced cruiser, and this was the first time I felt extremely ill from the motion. The next day was a full day at sea, and even though the weather was a bit better, I still felt lousy. I ended up buying some Seabands in the gift shop which helped. Needless to say, I didn't enjoy the day. Thankfully, everyone else in my group was unaffected. We had dinner at the Manhattan dining room that evening. The food was better than expected and the atmosphere was pleasant. Service was very good and we didn't have to wait long to get our meals. That night we saw "Burn the Floor." A very creative and lively dance performance that we all enjoyed. Naples: We arrived on time and getting off the ship and onto the pier was fast and easy. The pier itself was crowded with tour operators both looking to sell excursions as well as tour guides holding signs for pre-arranged private tours. We had pre-booked the Pompeii, Sorrento & Amalfi Coast tour with ItalyTours.eu and located our guide within minutes. Our first stop was Pompeii where we met the guide who would take us into the open-air museum. She was knowledgeable and easy to understand. The place is massive, and we could only see a small portion of it in the time allotted. Our guide said it would easily take eight hours to see the entire thing. We did enjoy the bit that we saw and having the guide helped us to understand and appreciate what we were seeing. After Pompeii, we drove to Sorrento and had lunch at O'Schizzariello as suggested by our tour guide. She even spoke with the manager and asked for quick service so we wouldn't use up all of our time at the restaurant. They accommodated her request and our meals were amazing with fresh pastas all made in house. We were finished with enough time to walk around the town, get gelato, and enjoy the sights. The tour continued on with a drive along the Amalfi coast. The views were breathtakingly beautiful, and we stopped along the way for pictures. We returned to the port in plenty of time and never worried about missing our departure time. That night we dined at the Taste dining room. We appreciated the more casual atmosphere and the service was very good. The menu was basically the same as in the Manhattan dining room, but there was plenty of variety to choose from. After dinner we chose to sit in one of the lounges to talk about our day over a drink or two before retiring. Our only complaint is that it is almost impossible to find a quiet area to sit and have a conversation. Music in most bars is quite loud, which we found annoying. Civitavecchia: There was mass confusion because the ship wasn't allowed to dock at its usual spot near the terminal building and ended up at a cargo dock. We had pre-booked the Rome & Vatican excursion with ItalyTours.eu, and although NCL arranged free shuttles to the terminal building, it was cutting it close to the time we were to meet our driver. I called to notify them of the change of docking location and was informed that our driver would come to us. This mix up caused a traffic nightmare that forced our driver to park some distance away and walk in to get us. Our tour started late, but we managed to get it to the Colesseum in time for those who had tickets to go inside. Having been there before, we opted to walk around the grounds while we waited. Unfortunately, the weather was cool and wet, but our driver did his best to see that we were comfortable and provided us with commentary as we drove around the narrow streets and back roads of Rome. We stopped at St. Ignatius Church, Trevi Fountain and drove by the Spanish Steps. We had a quick pizza lunch before heading to Vatican City and meeting our tour guide who was to take us through the museum, Sistine Chapel and to St. Peter's Basilica. Despite being early in the touring season, the crowds here were unbelievable. Add a wet, miserable day into the mix and the wow factor steadily decreases. Regardless, we got through the day without losing our cool. The joys of travel! That night we split our group. The guys went to Cagney's and us girls went to Teppanyaki. We enjoyed watching the dinner "show" at Teppanyaki, and the food was much better than expected. After dinner, the girls saw the Queens of Rhythm perform at Headliners. They put on quite a show! When I later caught up with my husband, he said that he and the others were quite pleased with their meals at Cagney's. Livorno: We arranged a tour of Florence & Pisa with ItalyTours.eu. Our driver was waiting for us in the cruise terminal and we were on our way within minutes. The first stop was Pisa. We were the first ones to arrive there and were fortunate enough to get tickets to go up into the leaning tower. We even got to stay in the bell tower while the bells rung. It was quite an experience! Another benefit of being there early is having the ability to take pictures without crowds of people in them. Our tour continued in Florence where we met our guide. She took us on a walking tour that was both interesting and informative. We enjoyed learning about the history of Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, and seeing the Piazza Della Signoria and the replica of the statue of David where the original once stood. Our guide also took us around the Duomo & Cathedral. When the tour finished, our driver returned us to the ship with plenty of time to spare. That evening's dinner was at Taste and was a bit disappointing. The steak was almost inedible, but after ordering something else, the meal came quickly and made up for it in taste and quality of service. Cannes: This was the only port where tendering was necessary. We had pre-arranged a tour of Cannes, Antibes and St. Paul de Vence with Liven Up through Viator, so I reserved our spots on the tender a few days in advance to ensure we would get to the shore in time for our excursion. The half-day tour consisted of a quick drive around Cannes before heading to Antibes, a quaint little town with a lovely market. Our final destination was St. Paul de Vence, a medieval walled town with ramparts and stone buildings featuring narrow pathways. It was like going back in time. We thoroughly enjoyed this historic place. After the tour, we spent time wandering around Cannes until it was time to catch the tender back to the ship. Dinner that evening was the Manhattan dining room, which we enjoyed. Palma de Mallorca: We had no excursion booked at this port. I arranged for us to take the NCL shuttle into the town at a cost of $15 per person US return. Although the buses were running on a constant loop, we waited for quite some time. The town is an approximate 30-minute walk, and had I known that, I wouldn't have bothered paying for the shuttle. We wandered around Palma, enjoying the views and ended up walking back which was pleasant. Our last dinner onboard was at Le Bistro. It was amazing in every way; the atmosphere, the service and the food. I would highly recommend it. That night we packed our luggage and placed it outside our cabin for pick up. The next morning, we had to be out of our rooms by 7:30 am. We had a nice breakfast at Taste before slowly making our way off the ship. Our transportation to the airport was once again with ZipTransfers but wasn't scheduled until 10:45. We waited inside the terminal building before being told we had leave by the staff. Luckily, the weather was nice and waiting outside wasn't an issue, and we managed to contact ZipTransfers to arrange a slightly earlier pick up. Other Info: We didn't partake in any activities onboard since we were always out and about with excursions, but I did use the gym and the outdoor track. Although well equipped, the gym was stiflingly hot and cut my workout short. I opted for a run on the outdoor track, which is a small loop on one side of the ship with the view blocked by the life boats. It was okay, but nothing like the top deck jogging tracks on other ships. We took a walk on the pool deck our first day onboard but didn't sit out there at all during our cruise since the weather was too cool. The pools themselves seemed rather small for the enormous size of the ship. The Wifi worked best in the common areas of the ship and hit and miss while in the cabin. My daughter is a vegetarian and found that most dinner options for her consisted of pastas with some type of vegetables. Le Bistro offered a tasty vegetable dish in a puff pastry, which was a nice change from the dinners she had eaten all week. We found the ship to be rather dark and closed in compared to other ships we've been on. There is a small open area mid ship, but it's not enough to even be noticeable. The casino is located on deck 6 mid ship and the open area carries the sound from it up to the higher decks. We didn't appreciate having to go through the casino to get to the restaurants on that deck either. Summing it Up: Overall, we had a great trip. Everyone in our group was of the same opinion. We chose the Epic because of the itinerary, which was fantastic. The ship was clean, the service and crew onboard were great. The food was good, with the exception of the steak dinner at Taste one evening, and the meals were always hot. The coffee wasn't all that good unless you paid extra for a cappuccino or espresso, and we found the beverage package that covered drinks up to a cost of $15 adequate for our needs. We would likely cruise with NCL again at some point but not on the Epic. It's size and odd design just didn't do it for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
If you need to be entertained 24/7 skip this boat. It has the basics which for me was fine. We had a busy itinerary and were only on the boat during sea days. Loved: staff, itinerary, food, specialty restaurants and chefs table, ... Read More
If you need to be entertained 24/7 skip this boat. It has the basics which for me was fine. We had a busy itinerary and were only on the boat during sea days. Loved: staff, itinerary, food, specialty restaurants and chefs table, entertainment, clean Didn’t Love: bed was terrible and I did not sleep well, crappy internet that was expensive, drink package overpriced, smoking almost everywhere on the ship which made it unpleasant to be outside by the pool or by the casino. The tender process into ports of call took too long. The ship is old with old decor but it’s very clean and the staff were the best. Checking in on day one was super easy and we received our luggage quickly. Checking out on last day also went smoothly. I would not cruise on this ship again due to the beds. I need to be able to sleep and I did not get any decent sleep on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wanted to see some of Europe and a cruise seemed like a good way to start. This is a port heavy cruise with very long days. You can see lots but in stops like Rome you will get just a very small taste and it's a great deal of driving ... Read More
Wanted to see some of Europe and a cruise seemed like a good way to start. This is a port heavy cruise with very long days. You can see lots but in stops like Rome you will get just a very small taste and it's a great deal of driving and walking. Private tours seem to be the way to go to get the best of each stop. We had an upgrade to a mini suite which was a welcome addition of space. The ship was fully repaired after the accident and you would never know it was so crushed. All shows and activities were running. As there is such a short period of evening time some things were not offered every day. They did try to have everything going on the sea day though. We enjoyed all the dining venues and did not do any pay dining except for Chops Lunch on the first day as we purchased The Key. The Key to us was a great benefit as we had excellent seats for all the shows we booked, full internet streaming and priority disembarking and transfers at all ports. One thing to note is there is No Lobster offered in the Dining Room on Mediterranean schedules. You could purchase it along with a couple of other specialty items separately on any night though. The service and crew were always great and they only disappointment seemed to be with the sports crew. We quite often felt like an inconvenience to them, especially on the zip line. The ship is kept very clean but does need the dry dock as planned later this year. New carpets in rooms and some refinishing of chair cushions but other than a little worn they were fine. Our room steward kept everything stocked and neat in our cabin. The entertainment was good and with The Key we had front row seats for everything. We were even able to enter on occasion without reservations to an earlier show sitting then what we had booked because of it. There weren't many small children on this cruise and I would imagine it would be hard in port with strollers. The roads and venues are really not very wheelchair or stroller accessible. We saw people really struggling in locations like Pompeii. Cinque Terre has a great deal of walking involved and most in stairs and uneven cobblestone streets. Unbelievable beautiful though. We loved this itinerary and would recommend it. Just remember you can't do everything and will need to choose your favorites or stay on in Europe for a few extra days. Private tours give you a much better look at the sites as the RCCL buses can't get into the best stops due to the small winding roads especially on the Amalfi Coast. We used Italy Tour Sharing (Joe Bananas) and they were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise was chosen as a celebration of our anniversary, and remembrance of several difficult years as family caregivers. This was a destination vacation to Europe and this cruise looked like it would introduce at an efficient way. We ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as a celebration of our anniversary, and remembrance of several difficult years as family caregivers. This was a destination vacation to Europe and this cruise looked like it would introduce at an efficient way. We arrived in Barcelona 2 days early to explore the city. Having concerns about not being able to speak Spanish within minutes we knew that this wasn't going to be any problem. The people of Barcelona could not be more friendly. We walked around a lot. It is an easy city to navigate. The Cathedral is amazing in the Gothic. The Picasso Museum doesn't get the love from tour guides as it should. If all you know is his Modernism you should check out his work and this building. A terrific visit. We ate at several cafes off the La Ramblas. Tapas are everywhere so stop have 1 or 2 and find another place. We did like Set de Born restaurant in the Gothic. The Iberco Ham, and grilled squid were the best we ever had. On Sunday we took a cab to the ship. About 20 EUR from center city. Moving through the queue was about 20 minutes. Being that the Oasis was dry docked for a month we were able to go to our cabin. Can I just say here, they say the ship is big, you see video and pictures of the ship. But when you first see the ship, it is huge! We had cabin 11650. Our Steward Deen was there to greet and welcome us. Deen was warm and engaging, he made us feel so welcomed. We wanted for nothing the entire week. We were assigned to American Icon for my time dining. Through out the week we had several servers. Each one was terrific. We did not have one dining experience that wasn't excellent. Where we live we can get some of the best food around, from steaks, any ethnic, seafood. When I had read reviews about the quality of food we were hesitant. The food was well prepared and delicious. Was the prime rib like Keene or Peter Lugars, no, but it was cooked the way I like it and was delicious. I vacation on Cape Cod, no seafood is going to be like that. The fish dinner on Oasis was delicious. We enjoyed ourselves. The first day was Mallorca. We didn't schedule any excursions. We took the bus and went to the Cathedral. It is spectacular. We used audio guide for here. We then walked the area and had a light lunch and people watched. The 2nd day was Marseille. Again we took the bus and walked around the city. It is quite hilly. Again we stopped at a bakery facing the Port and had a light lunch. The 3rd day was Florence. We used RCL tour, the history of Florence. It is a 90 min bus ride from the Port to Florence. Our guide, I forget her name, I'm sorry. Was terrific both on the bus and off. You park the bus and then walk. You walk a lot! There is so much to see and she explains what your looking at. We had lunch in a small restaurant as a group. Enjoyable meal meeting fellow cruisers. At the accadmie we were broken up into 2 groups and got a new guide. She was terrific also. You go through security check point and enter the museum. There is a lot of art here, but everyone is fixated on David. It is incredible. You stay awhile and then its back to the main square for an hour. You can shop, visit Church of Santa Croce. We decided cocktails in Florence was what we needed! Walk to bus. Sleep for an hour and a half. Shower, go to dinner, go to bed. Next morning is Rome. The 4th day. As you can see we are not going to see many shows. Up by 5am, coffee at Prommenade Cafe, light snack. Gangway by 730. This tour we joined was by Italytoursharing. This tour and tomorrows were both terrific independent Tours, we would highly recommend them. You get in a 9 passenger van and drive to Rome, about an hour away. The guide narrates while driving in the craziest traffic we have seen.Rome is Crazy traffic wise!! The driver is worth the money! The Colosseum was taken off the itinerary because of new security measures, but we park across the street and have a great view. The driver takes us to a cafe for a bathroom break and have the best cappuccino while waiting we now have an hour before going to the Vatican. The driver suggests we walk to the Trevi Fountain. He can't drive there. We don't exchange phone numbers within the group or driver. 2 people from the group separate from us and go on their own. We walk to the fountain. Its like Times Square on New Years Eve! We will never find this couple. Now we start getting harassed by the pan handlers, beggars, sellers of crap. One of the girls in our group has a guy try to get into her shoulder bag. Another lady yells at him and he disappears into the crowd but nothing is taken. This place is a dump, I'm done. We walk to the where the van is and the other couple isn't there. An hour later we meet up. Off to the Vatican. We go through the Sistine Chapel and there is nothing like it. It's what you come to Rome for. Because we lost an hour at the fountain we have limited time at St Peter's, but we got to go in and are quite happy. Back to the ship and eat. Tomorrow the last day Naples. Again up by 6. Coffee, more coffee. The Terminal in Naples is the most god awful facility we encountered. You are forced like livestock to walk the length of the terminal. Or take elevator and walk length of terminal. Get to ground level only to be forced to walk back from where you came from to walk past the crappy souvenir shops. It's worse than anything Walt Disney could dream of for picking your pocket. Envision elderly people and young families with strollers schlepping for 20 minutes just to get a bus.. A big middle finger Italian hello to the operators of the Naples Port. You and RCL should be ashamed of yourselves for such a blatant money grab. We took Italy tours sharing again. Our driver, Massimo, was terrific. He suggested driving to Positano first. Shop and have breakfast. Then drive back to Sorrento and have lunch. Then finish in Pompeii. This tour was a calm, sightseeing delight. The scenery is incredible. The food was fantastic. We had a great time. At Pompeii we met our guide. There were some guests that had mobility difficulty. The guide made sure everyone saw what they wanted and if you didn't want to go, you were put in a comfortable spot to wait. A great excursion for the end of our week. Saturday was the 1 cruising day on our cruise. It was windy and cool. There weren't many people in the pools or outside bars. This was the only time you notice how many people are on the ship. We shopped on board. Had some drinks and enjoyed the day. Sunday we had breakfast at the windjammer for the last time and off the ship by 8 am. We had an amazing time. We are already thinking of setting up another cruise but not as heavy on the itineraries. RCL Oasis of the seas, and its employees provided a terrific vacation and we couldn't be happier. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We embarked in Barcelona for the ships first visit round the med after its transatlantic sailing from Brazil. We arrived into Barcelona the day before so had plenty of time to explore and relax before boarding. MSC had allocated us a ... Read More
We embarked in Barcelona for the ships first visit round the med after its transatlantic sailing from Brazil. We arrived into Barcelona the day before so had plenty of time to explore and relax before boarding. MSC had allocated us a 1430-1600 check in time, so we caught the port shuttle to the ship around 1400 and were greeted by 2 of the longest lines. 1st line was for bag drop off, so we were in line around 1415 and we dropped our bag off at around 1510, we were then handed a boarding card and had to join another line to go through security to get into the terminal, once in the terminal luckily our boarding group had already been called, but we saw people hanging around with groups about 10 up from us so that would have been at least another hour. Checked in at 1615 we headed up to the ship for another hour wait to board, eventually on board at around 1730 we dumped our hand baggage and was pleased to see our cases waiting for us outside our cabin. Safety drill was due at around 1700 but as half the ship was yet to board this was delayed we headed to the buffet on deck 8 for some food and grabbed what we could before they pulled the shutters down ready for the drill. It was a long embarkation day, which i guess wouldn't normally be so bad had not the majority of the ship left, and a full ship was trying to board for Easter. The Seaview is an beautiful ship, and being less than a year old everything was still new and worked well. The main stair case is a amazing and great to see. Lifts can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, rather than calling for the lift you select what deck you are heading to and it will allocate you one from the bank. We waited for ages for lifts to come sometimes and when it showed up it was full then you had to go over the process again. We used the interactive screens dotted around the ship to book entertainment which needs to be done a couple of days before. With entertainment the singers/musicians in the main atrium where great to sit and listen to, we then only really bothered with the show in the evening, we booked onto the 2230 show every night and even though this was the 3rd show of the evening it was still full every show. The shows them selves were good mainly singing or variety acts, with little spoken word as would be hard on a ship so multi cultural. Our cabin was good, located on deck 12 mid ship with a balcony, big enough for 2 of us, with a sofa and big wardrobe. Cleanliness wasn't great as we found a bag of rubbish in the wardrobe, hairs on the cushions on the bed and nail clippings on the balcony. Bathroom was nice and modern with no dreaded shower curtain,just nice clean glass. Staff were friendly enough and everyone i spoke with was cheerful and helpful. On other cruises i have been on the cabin attendant will get to know you by name and is good for a chat, on the Seaview i am not sure if it is done differently but i had no idea who was looking after our cabin and saw the odd cleaner down the corridor. As others have said every announcement is done in 5 different languages so can take a while, we didn't hear or see the captain once during the cruise apart from in the theatre on formal night. Food was good majority of the time, we stuck to the main buffets on deck 8 and 16 and could always find something to eat, pizza's are amazing and best on ship pizza's i have had and they bake breakfast goods as needed in a morning which was nice. I did find it weird that the ship would run out of certain items during our cruise and considering we had no days at sea i would have thought it would be easy to source items. But we had no tomatoes on board for the 5 days and they ran out of fanta and sprite by day 2, so were left with non branded versions. We only took one excursion and that was at La Spezia to see the little towns in the hills, which was good value at EUR50 each and was a full day. At the other ports we did our own thing as you could easily pick up an open top bus tour for a fraction of the cost of the ships excursions. Overall i would go back on the Seaview again, we did have a great time and really enjoyed our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I should point out that this was my first cruise although my wife has been on several, including another MSC cruise. We scheduled this cruise about a year in advance and purchased the cheapest cabin available. We figured we would be on ... Read More
I should point out that this was my first cruise although my wife has been on several, including another MSC cruise. We scheduled this cruise about a year in advance and purchased the cheapest cabin available. We figured we would be on excursions everyday and didn't plan to spend much time in the cabin so no need to get a fancy one. We flew from the US to Barcelona two days before the cruise and did some touring.The morning of the cruise we went on a Freemasons and Knights Templar tour in Barcelona through Barcelona Occulta Tours which was excellent - lots of hidden history in that city. Embarkation took a while and nobody really explained what was going on. It seemed a bit chaotic but eventually we got on board. Luckily the staff is multi-lingual and answered our questions. We ate at the buffet for every meal on the ship and we thought it was pretty good. Some of the buffet sections stay mostly the same every day like pizza, bread, and cold cuts. Others like the rotisserie, ethnic and dessert sections had different items every day. My wife is a vegetarian and was able to find plenty of food. We ordered the breakfast package which was delivered to our room every morning. The first day they brought enough food for 10 people and I had to ask them to only bring one plate of each item. The breakfast was quite delicious. There were nightly shows in the theater which were free. We thought they were pretty good. The ship was generally kept pretty clean. Our cabin ran out of hand soap the day before we got off the ship though, and I ended up getting sick the following evening. It was difficult to locate our steward when we needed him. We went on excursions every day they were available and could usually only locate him in the evening. Room service staff, cleaning staff, and servers in the buffet were nice. I dined at the three specialty restaurants. I thought the Butcher's Block was by far the best, followed by Eataly, and the Japanese restaurant in last place. I was tempted to eat at the Butcher's Block a second time but didn't get around to it. As mentioned in other reviews there was a bit of pushing and shoving at the buffet. Not everyone is raised to be polite and they won't hesitate to cut in front of you or push you out of the way. After getting over my initial shock, I was becoming a master of body positioning, wedging my way into lines and pushing people aside just like those brutes. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The ship seemed a bit crowded, especially in the evenings and on the formal nights. I wore my suit jacket twice and had some pants/shirts ironed for a nominal fee. We had a private Montserrat/Barcelona tour with Barcelona Day Tours scheduled for 8:30am the morning we got off the ship, so we did the self disembarkation along with probably a hundred or so others. I was worried about getting off in time, but it was no problem. Excursions: Marseille and Avignon - We liked it and our guide Cecil was good. We paid to go onto the bridge which was nice. We saw Chateau D'If from the church. Magnificent Milano - The city is cool, but annoying people trying to sell you stuff are a big problem. Our guide wasn't that great. She had a very halting speaking style where she would pause for a long time. Rome - There was a marathon which caused our excursion to be canceled, so we did the Papal Angelus one and it was great. We saw St Peter's Basilica and the Pope. Then we saw the Pantheon, Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and Forum on foot. Some roads were closed for the marathon but our guide was excellent and circumvented them. Segesta and Eurice - We took the bus into the mountains and it was very cold there so take warm clothes. We toured a church but it was foggy and couldn't really see much. Then we went to Segesta and saw some ruins that were pretty cool. We received a pretty good packed lunch on this tour. I was quite happy with it. Valletta and Mdina - This was a pretty good tour but only 4 hours long. I wish they had a longer tour on Malta. We went to Mdina first and toured a church. The guide explained Maltese culture as we walked the streets. Then we went to Valletta and saw another church where the knights are buried and where there is a Caravaggio painting. I thought it was pretty cool. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
6 months ago, my wife and I just cruised wth MCS Sinfonia; cruising Italy, Greece and Croatia and had the best time! When we heard that their brand new ship MSC Bellissima was making its first splash...we wanted to be a part of it! ... Read More
6 months ago, my wife and I just cruised wth MCS Sinfonia; cruising Italy, Greece and Croatia and had the best time! When we heard that their brand new ship MSC Bellissima was making its first splash...we wanted to be a part of it! Celebrating my 60th bday, I asked my brother and sis in law to join us and they happily obliged. First of all, we all believed that pricing was fair. Check in was easy and quick... the only thing I felt uncomfortable was there was not a separate gangway for YC passengers so we had to follow our butler as he squeezed through the line of others boarding. Other than that, our butler, Edwin Garcia from Honduras, was just so charming and accommodating! The Sky Lounge bartenders Gerry and Jason and servers Irina and Ramses were just the friendliest and the most hard working crew members! We bought a package of 4 dining experiences and over all they was great. Our least favorite was the Tapas bar as we just had best ones in Barcelona. But the Japanese and the steakhouse were terrific. I do have to say that I am a bit miffed to find out that there were extra charges when I checked out... when every time we dined at all specialty restaurants, we specifically mentioned that we were on the special package. I didn't bother complaining at that point as I was ready to disembark and it was probably less than 100 Euros in difference. The suite was fantastic and the bed was comfortable and the towel were white as white can be. The concept of free minibar is something new to me and I swear I did not use anything at all from the fridge! Don't ask me why! Entertainment with CDS's Syma was fantastic, and we've seen major CDS shows here in the US. The regular entertainment and live bands were not as good as our first cruise with Sinfonia I'm afraid. The bands and singers were better at the Sinfonia. But being pampered at the Yacht Club is truly a great experience and I am sure we will be cruising MSC again. We've cruised Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and others but we feel that MSC offers great things for the money you pay. It was a brand new ship and of course there are growing pains as the crew becomes familiar with their territories and their duties. But overall... a wonderful experience I look forward to doing over again and again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The Ship was amazing, we were well impressed with the Shows, the food was lovely and a good choice but it was never more than lukewarm which was a shame, the staff work so hard and are so friendly. We bought one of the middle drinks ... Read More
The Ship was amazing, we were well impressed with the Shows, the food was lovely and a good choice but it was never more than lukewarm which was a shame, the staff work so hard and are so friendly. We bought one of the middle drinks packages it and proved to be a godsend as the drinks were expensive. We did find it hard work getting back on the Ship after a trip. I also slipped up on deck 10 near the Lido Buffet and had to see the hospital doctor who's bill was €352.00 of which €100 was for a BANDAGE which is a bit extreme by any standards, really thought I would at least be able to use my EHIC as it was an accident onboard , this then spoilt my holiday as I had badly damaged my knee so was in a wheelchair for the 4 days out of 7 and unable to take the wheelchair on shore. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised 15 times in the past with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Overall, we were pleased with this cruise. Accommodations were comfortable, the food was good, and the staff were ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised 15 times in the past with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Overall, we were pleased with this cruise. Accommodations were comfortable, the food was good, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The destinations were amazing. The simple decor was nice compared to some of other lines like Carnival. Embarkation and debarkation were refreshingly easy. They have some incredibly talented performers for the shows and we enjoyed them all for the most part. However, we really didn't understand why every show had a "strip joint" element to it. We had My Choice dining so the first day we went to the dining room we were assigned to and picked the time we wanted to eat each evening. The first night we were not happy with our table location (next to loud service station), but they gladly changed it for us and the rest of our meals were great. The menu lacked options and you do have to pay more if you want lobster or steak for gala night, but the food was good and we enjoyed it. The prime rib was thinner than any we have ever had so you might want to order two entrees if you choose that. Also, beware that you have to pay for water as well as any other beverage. The staff were very nice, but we missed the shows that other cruise lines put on. The buffets were adequate, but there was not much variety. The hamburgers were high school cafeteria quality, but the fries were good. Also, there are no frozen yogurt machines and the gelato station was never open. The pizza was great, but there were only three varieties. We found the Buddha Bar and Irish Pub made the best drinks. The casino drinks didn't have much alcohol. Also, they are more generous with vodka in drinks than rum so my husband quickly learned to love Moscow Mules. The gym does not have enough treadmills so I had to wait in line for a machine every time I went. Although putt putt is located on the top deck, you have to find the mobile entertainment stand (on deck 6 in one of the bars which rotates constantly) to check out the equipment or to borrow games. We didn't try the pools because it was too cold outside. We had to pay for shuttle services to reach the port on several occasions so be prepared for that additional cost. It ranged from 12.99 to 15.99 per person for a round trip. There are lots of bars to hang out in and they have fun themed parties every night. Most of them start after 11 so we didn't make it to any of them. The staff were very interactive with passengers and we really enjoyed talking with them. Ports: To reach the port in Barcelona you will need to take the blue bus located at the Columbus monument which is a block from the Drassanes metro station. The bus is $3 euros per person. Valencia: You can pay for a shuttle to reach town, but we chose to take a taxi directly from the ship to the aquarium. We also bought our aquarium tickets online ahead of time. Taking the taxi saved us a couple of dollars. We walked around the aquarium area afterwards and then walked back to the aquarium to catch a taxi back to the ship. Palma de Mallorca: We walked off the ship and caught a bus #1 (3 euros per person) to the city center. Then we walked to the cathedral. We walked around for a couple of hours and then took a taxi back to the ship area and went on an excursion we had booked on our own. We had a great time hiking and exploring a cave. Malta: We did not get to dock here due to rough seas, but we did get to Messina that evening at 5 pm and stayed until 2 pm the following day. Messina: We had a lovely dinner in town. You were able to walk right off the ship in this port. We also enjoyed walking around a cathedral and shopping in some of the stores. The following day we went on MSC's excursion to Taormina. We highly recommend this tour. Taormina is beautiful and we loved walking through the city and walking around the ancient theatre. There is a cost for that. If you have children under 18 there is a very reduced fee (or maybe free?) but you have to have their passport to show them in order to get the discount. Citavecchia: We took MSC's excursion to Rome on your own. So much fun. The Coliseum and ruins are within walking distance. I bought a package ahead of time to go into the Coliseum and Palentine/Roman Forum. We chose 1 pm for our time to go into the Coliseum and that worked out perfectly. Livorno: We took MSC's excursion to Florence on your own. We had a wonderful time walking around. Genoa: No excursion. Just walked around the city. We didn't need a shuttle this day. Marseille: We had to utilize the ship's shuttle for 15.99 per person. From the drop off point, we were able to walk to the Basilica de Notre Dame. It was wonderful. We also had a wonderful meal in town. Barcelona: We took a high speed train to Girona to see the cathedral where some Game of Throne scenes were filmed. One of the best things we did on the whole trip. We booked the Renfe train tickets ahead of time. Once we got to Girona, we were able to walk to the cathedral and old wall. This is an amazing place even if you're not a GOT fan. We loved every minute of it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Yes really enjoyed the cruise however the entertainment is poor with not much variety and only the evening shows only lasts on average 35/45 minutes. No entertainment program in any of the bars in the day or very little. On average ... Read More
Yes really enjoyed the cruise however the entertainment is poor with not much variety and only the evening shows only lasts on average 35/45 minutes. No entertainment program in any of the bars in the day or very little. On average we enjoyed the food,the cabins and service BUT the one thing that annoyed us was when I queried about the €10 a day service charge was told it didn’t matter how it was paid as the staff did not get it anyway it goes straight to the company So then did not have time to tip all we came into contact with Apart from leaving money in our cabin Toilet facilities around the ship are poor as it’s difficult to find a toilet when you want one, as the disabled toilet is huge they could put another toilet in there and there are no urinals so everyone uses the sit down ones Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The ports were outstanding albeit Celebrity outrageous fees to transfer you from the port. What a shame. Shore excursion to Herculeneaum was a five star Shore excursion in Malta could have been better had they included a walk to the ... Read More
The ports were outstanding albeit Celebrity outrageous fees to transfer you from the port. What a shame. Shore excursion to Herculeneaum was a five star Shore excursion in Malta could have been better had they included a walk to the second archeological site instead of watching them sell us limoncello for one hour We decided to take the train into Florence and although they gave us a form to fill out they wanted 20$ more pp when we went to pay We wasted at least 30 minutes at a leather store where there was one toilet stall for women and one for men A stop in Split would have been great and longer in Montenegro The HoHo in Montenegro was perfect Food was unimaginative, poor quality, and had it not been for the MaitreD and the wait staff we would have considered it the worse we have ever had at sea Entertainment was entirely horrible.We and several others walked out of a juggler,a comedian and a male singing group. Nothing going on between 8 and 10pm Lecturers on Sea Days were Superb! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose the cruise because it had a good itinerary. We weren’t disappointed. While there were occasional blips in the dining service the staff was very accommodating and working to do their best. We didn’t feel that the upselling ... Read More
We chose the cruise because it had a good itinerary. We weren’t disappointed. While there were occasional blips in the dining service the staff was very accommodating and working to do their best. We didn’t feel that the upselling of merchandise was too prevalent but there was a big push to get you to book the specialty restaurants. We enjoyed the ‘anytime dining’ because we were able to meet people from all over the world. We mainly did shore excursions that were not through Celebrity as the Celebrity groups were much too large.. It would be nice to have cheaper laundry or self serve laundry like on Royal Princess. The cost for laundry was incredibly high. Wifi is also a huge expense. It would be great to see cruise companies work on reducing this. We had a great time and have already booked another cruise on Celebrity in Southeast Asia. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this 7 day cruise for the itinerary. We had not been to Europe, so we wanted to experience several places and this cruise was ideal for all the places we got to see in a short period of time. It is great to not to have to worry ... Read More
We chose this 7 day cruise for the itinerary. We had not been to Europe, so we wanted to experience several places and this cruise was ideal for all the places we got to see in a short period of time. It is great to not to have to worry about food, hotels and services and to be able to sleep while transitioning from one port to another. Its an excellent way to see a lot on your first trip. This cruise ship had it down for organized embarkation and disembarkment! They do an excellent job. I felt like the food was mediocre in comparison with other ships I have been on...but definitely not bad. I had no problem eating and finding American cuisine on this international boat. The boat is HUGE! It can house up to 5,000 guests. I never seemed overwhelmed by this, but several times the elevators were backlogged, especially after shows or dinner. The shows were kind of random...I did not understand the themes and it just seemed like singing with crazy costumes and acrobatics thrown in. I ended up only going to a few and enjoyed spending time in the atrium with the musicians and fun activities. The Sports bar was fun, as was the casino bar. I would have rated the service excellent when we were 80% through our trip, but the last two days we did encounter a few rude staff members (Shine bar and room service) which turned into a disappointing ending. The ports were amazing, I thought. My least favorite were Marseille and Genoa. The highlights of our trip were: Taxi Mister Cab Driver (Naples and Amalfi Coast)- Ciro was a delight, and he set up a guide for us in Pompeii who was beyond excellent! We then went to downtown Naples for the best pizza and went shopping on the Christmas street and bought homemade Nativity scenes and ornaments. FUN day! Our day at port in Messina was also a highlight, as we hired a driver to take us to Taormina for a cooking class at Porta Messina Ristorante...They were amazing and this was such a fun experience. I would definitely recommend this activity. We chose cannoli making but they have other wonderful classes. Giovanni was our chef and he was knowledgeable and kind. We then followed up by shopping around Taormina, taking in the beautiful views and shops, then headed to the Gambino Winery for a wine tasting (well worth it). It was about a 45 minute drive, with beautiful country views and delicious wine paired with a lunch for 29 Euros. Then we headed back to the ship. We started in Barcelona, getting there pre-cruise one day before and stayed at a Hostal- Som Nit Born because they had a room with four twin beds (a hard find in Barcelona), The room was plain and clean and just fine. We walked around and found a great outdoor cafe and they kept our bags before boarding the ship the next day- We caught a bus (stop very close to the hotel) to La Rambla Street and enjoyed shopping and lunch. The ladies at Som Nit Born spoke great English and called us a cab to take us to the ship when we returned. Check each destination and the prices of the cruise and decide where to Board...I might would consider Messina or Naples next time, as we liked those places the best and could go early and spend more time those places. I did enjoy the last day at sea before disembarking in Barcelona, though, as it was a relaxing day after an amazing trip! I am thinking of taking my husband and my children on this cruise (young adults) as it is an experience of a lifetime. I was with friends on this trip. It is a good buy for the money and for the most part a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Received a very good offer from a travel agent that included air, 2 days in Barcelona before the cruise, 1 day after the cruise, pre-paid gratuities and a drink package. Stateroom attendant was excellent, even providing a very good bottle ... Read More
Received a very good offer from a travel agent that included air, 2 days in Barcelona before the cruise, 1 day after the cruise, pre-paid gratuities and a drink package. Stateroom attendant was excellent, even providing a very good bottle of Champagne on our anniversary. Enjoyed the dining--did both anytime dining as well as in the buffet. We noted that we enjoyed the waiter in the dining room, so were sat there on nights we dined there--he was quite good and answered a lot of our questions about the ship and cruising in general. And, spoiled me with extra lobster tails, even though I did not ask for them. Over the two weeks, I ate (and probably drank) far more than I do at home over most likely 6 weeks. But, ended up losing 8 pounds!!!!! Probably because on most tours, between those and walking on the ship, we walked over 4 miles every day. For excursions, did a mix of OnLine Vacation and Celebrity. The only issue with non-Celebrity excursions is you don't get picked up at the boat, but unless it was a short walk, there are shuttle buses. Guides for both were a mix from just ok to quite good. Best was in Rome--very knowledgeable--that one was with OnLine. In Malaga, did the Hop on/Hop off tour. Should have waited to later in the morning for that one, as the first buses are packed. This was the least enjoyable tour, but we still go to see a lot, along with just about every red light in town. Also did the ship tour--pricey but interesting. We were invited to the helipad for sail away on one day--not sure if they do this every day or not. Had only a couple of complaints, the first being the well worn towels in the bathroom. They need to stock up on new ones at Costco! And the tissue thin toilet paper. Do ships/hotels really save that much when you use 4 times a much that you would with good TP? The dining room menus are also getting worn and stained. The internet packages are extremely overpriced--there was an offer for the last two days that still was more than what I pay for a month at home. I have VerizonAnd, why do they charge $25 for the pictures? My guess is they could sell a lot more it they were $10. As for the passengers, very interesting mix, met many people from all over the world. Wasn't really a good cruise for kids--met one British couple who live in France and had their 12 year old son with them--there was only one of kid around the same age. Biggest complaint about passengers was those who, at breakfast, sit at their table in the buffet forever, just drinking coffee and talking, while others milled about looking for a place to sit. As for entertainment, did not see any shows, as we had to leave the ship early most mornings, and did not dine until around 7:30. They did have bands/duos singing late afternoon/ later in the evening in the big open common area--sorry, but they were not very good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Good service, food and entertainment but public areas need new upholstery- old, stained and grimy. The excursions were enjoyable except for the “foodie walking tour of Naples”. We paid a lot for tiny portions eaten on our feet. Walk ... Read More
Good service, food and entertainment but public areas need new upholstery- old, stained and grimy. The excursions were enjoyable except for the “foodie walking tour of Naples”. We paid a lot for tiny portions eaten on our feet. Walk around on your own. Our foodie tour in Rome was much better. Toni Brancatisano did an excellent job of showing us her local places. Our archeology tour in Santorini was educational and the wine tasting and lunch were good. Katakalon was interesting and our guide was excellent. You’ll miss a lot if you do it on your own. The production shows, as always, were well done. The guest performers ranged from comedians to musicians to opera singers to Broadway stars. The guest lecturer had worked in the tv/movie industry for 30 years and we looked forward to his lectures. The singer in Crooners, Tommy McPhee, was great and we liked the Maridor Duo in Wheelhouse. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We only had a 1 week window of opportunity to holiday with friends and that was how we ended up on the NCL Epic. The ship itself is well looked after and everything is very clean. As a group of 4 adults we missed having somewhere to sit ... Read More
We only had a 1 week window of opportunity to holiday with friends and that was how we ended up on the NCL Epic. The ship itself is well looked after and everything is very clean. As a group of 4 adults we missed having somewhere to sit early evening before dinner or when we had come back from an excursion. Other ships we have been on (Celebrity and the NCL Jade) had a lovely lounge with floor to ceiling windows where you could sit in a comfy chair, chat and play cards with a great view of the sea outside the window. On the Epic through the chain mail curtains at the window all you could see were the metal walkway decks with no view at all. We went up a few times and once there was an Art exhibition on in there and the other times it was completely empty and freezing cold. There are bars around the ship with comfy chairs but we found they were near the Noodle/Teppanyaki bar and after sitting there for 5 or 10 minutes the smell of the cooking was over powering and not very pleasant. Our other biggest disappointment was the main dining room. There were a huge amount of people who did not make any effort to dress for dinner. One evening we sat next to a table where they had baseball caps on and one of the men had trainers, white sports socks and past the knee nylon sports shorts. He looked scruffy and as if he had come straight from the gym. We were by no means dressed up. The men had chinos and shirts and us women a dress or smart trousers - no dinner jackets or anything fancy - but we had showered and changed for dinner which half of the Main dining room seemed to have omitted to do. When I queried the dress code with the ladies who book you in there answer was (in a nutshell) we have a lot of Americans on board and we can't/won't ask them to dress appropriately for the MDR. How difficult is it if someone turns up in gym gear to say "I'm sorry Sir/Madam its long trousers and shirts for men and dresses/skirts or smart trousers for women in the MDR as stated on the website/daily bulletin. Please feel free to use the buffet or O'Sheehans if you prefer not to change tonight" O'Sheehans was a horrible place similar to a Wetherspoons. Always seemed to be queuing to get in when there were loads of empty tables. Overall the food was good in the MDR but definitely not outstanding. The cabin arrangement with the washbasin outside in the cabin was a bizarre idea and we really couldn't see the advantage in that at all. The shows were good but again not outstanding. Best entertainment on the ship was the Dualling Pianos - they were excellent. We also could not see any advantage in booking our seats on line before we sailed. There appeared to be no reason for this - what's wrong with turning up on the night and if you haven't got there early enough try again the next night. I think we would think twice about sailing with NCL (this was our 2nd time) we were all disappointed with the dress code and felt that it let the ship down. If people do not want to put on trousers and a clean top to eat - that's fine but don't use the MDR. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We are elite on Celebrity cruises and have tried different other lines. We have really enjoyed small vessels and river cruises. So this cruise was really out of the comfort zone before we left from home. But what to do? Husband really ... Read More
We are elite on Celebrity cruises and have tried different other lines. We have really enjoyed small vessels and river cruises. So this cruise was really out of the comfort zone before we left from home. But what to do? Husband really wanted to try a mega ship. So at some point we just had to jump in it! About us, we are in mid/late 30 from Norway. We like to travel and do both land and cruise holidays. We prefer cruises that are 9+days. We choose this cruise since it was a new Oasis-class ship, in the med (short way) and it was a 9days sailing. (and we celebrated 8years wedding day;) We had a central park balcony stateroom on deck 12. It was good size and lots of storage space for clothing and other items. The room looked brand new and had no sign of wear and tear. Room attendant did a great job and it was all in order. Liked the location, short way to sun deck and not to far down to central park. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship in 15min from we arrived at the pier at 11.15AM. We used the app. All was good. The ship its filled whit things to do and entertainment. Husband tried Flow Rider for the first time, and he really enjoyed it. Zip line was fun, great abyss was fun, water slides was fun and mini golf was fun. We really had a great choice of activities that we enjoy. We didn't find time for the climbing wall.... Shows were great, Hairspray and Flight was perfect. Ice shows and aqua shows was good. It was a pleasure to spend time on entertainment. This is a big different from X that we normally travel on. Standard on shows are hige. Lots of trivia, we attended some and it was fun. Dining/Bar We tried Izumi Hibachi, Jamies and Wonderland in speciality dining. It was all great evenings. They are special in their own ways. Izumi was so fun, the chef was really in his zone.And the food was excellent.It is a show over dinner. So worth to book. Jamies, italian food. Tasted good and porsjons are big, perfect to share. Wonderland is special. We celebrated 8years wedding day and had dinner. It was really funny and something special. We had my-time-dining in MDR. It worked like on X. But i really see the difference in Royal and X. On X it is more delicate meny and better quality in food presentation. It felt a bit rushed and pre cooked. No sommelier service. I really understand why people have specialty dining booked. Solarium Bistro was really a good choice, we really liked it for breakfast, lunsj and dinner. El loco fresh, was a great place. Taco is never wrong and it tasted good. Really a great concept that we enjoyed. Windjammer was ok, we are not big buffet fans. Really enjoyed the juice bar Vitality in the fitness center, great crew. We like fresh juice and this was a perfect thing for us. A must in the morning. Vintages wine bar was good, nice selection in wines and good service. Trellis had a great bartender in Eka, she took good care of us. Promenade cafe had good coffee. Park cafe was great for something to eat or snack. Good for take away to the balcony. Ports of call Cruises in the med are very port intensive, and this cruise was no exception. It was nice destinations, some new and some old for us. We had privat tours in La Spezia, Naples, Valencia and Marseille. In Palma and Rome we did DIY. Service was both excellent and good. We disliked that they did not care to much on hand sanitising and that it was often empty of soap in sinks. If you take away the entertainment, we think X is a better in many ways. We are not afraid of going back to Oasis class. If we go on a family holiday, it will be on royal. We are really surprised how it didn't feel crowded, is was great, Read Less
Sail Date October 2018

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