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Sail Date: August 2019
I went on the "glories of Spain and Portugal" itinerary in August. This was my first cruise. The small ship size was great and I got to know the fellow passengers and crew very well. The crew and staff were excellent and very ... Read More
I went on the "glories of Spain and Portugal" itinerary in August. This was my first cruise. The small ship size was great and I got to know the fellow passengers and crew very well. The crew and staff were excellent and very attentive, and I also enjoyed the small group excursions. I really enjoyed the ports and the privileged locations we got to dock at each day. The ship was very clean and nice. If you are looking for high luxury, however, this is probably not the ship for you. Cabins are small and there are no balcony cabins. The ship had a nice family feeling and I felt right at home. The food was good and there were a lot of choices and the staff was accommodating of any dietary restrictions. Everything went smoothly on board. In short if you are looking for a nice ship with amazing staff and an intimate feeling, I would absolutely recommend Variety cruises and the Harmony V. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
The transfers from start to finish, were smooth.We even were allowed to move cabin and stay on later on the last day, to save us having to wait at the airport for hours for our flight.This cost £35 per person and was well worth it. ... Read More
The transfers from start to finish, were smooth.We even were allowed to move cabin and stay on later on the last day, to save us having to wait at the airport for hours for our flight.This cost £35 per person and was well worth it. This was the best cruise I have been on.I liked that it was much smaller ship and that it was older.The staff are lovely and can't do enough for you.The food was good and plenty of choice.The cabin was spotless and the lad that did for us, Lewis, deserves a special mention, for being so good at his job and going out of his way to help us when ever he could. The ship was clean and tidy and as it's an older ship yes some of the toilets could have a bit of a whiff about them at times.However given the amount of people they serve I think that can be expected , on a whole though they to were spotless and clean. I really enjoyed it, and hope to go again next year. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I booked this cruise to be part of the Weight Watcher (WW) Mediterranean Cruise in July. My friend had never been to Europe so we thought this would be a great experience to see several different ports in Spain, France, and Italy and get ... Read More
I booked this cruise to be part of the Weight Watcher (WW) Mediterranean Cruise in July. My friend had never been to Europe so we thought this would be a great experience to see several different ports in Spain, France, and Italy and get to meet WW members from around the world. I have been on several different cruise lines over the past 6 years including: Norwegian, Holland America, and Oceania and the MSC cruise was a huge step down in the areas of Dining and Service. The ship is brand new, launched in 2018, and it's beautiful. It has 20 decks and holds up to 5,200 passengers. It's a floating apartment building, complete with their own app that was used to book theater showings, maps of the different decks, and a daily schedule for events. There were abundant activities for families like 3 pools, a water park, and even a zip line on top. There are several restaurants and a buffet. The theater holds almost a thousand guests per performance and there are three 30-35 minute performances each night. The dining experience was our greatest disappointment. The food that WW had specially prepared for us, was bland and boring. We decided to eat at the ship buffet and it was basic cafeteria food, with a heavy emphasis on pork and fish. The food was fresh, but not exciting at all. I was amazed at how many little extras were not included: such as ice cream and iced tea. The shows were the best part of the cruise and we went to every one of them. Nice scenery, interesting themes, colorful costumes, great singers and acrobatic acts. No stand up comedy, thank goodness. Entertainment in the lounges was fine too. Service was poor. On-boarding was confused at best. We were in a special group and they didn't really seem to know about it when we arrived. We got through the process and our luggage was delivered in a timely fashion. We NEVER met our steward. We never received ice, although we had an ice bucket, and the turn down-service didn't include the little chocolates and fun towel animals found on every other cruise line. Information desk staff were rather curt with people and seemed stressed most of the time. Long lines were found at the different service areas, such as Excursions and Front Desk Assistance. You were pretty much on your own to figure things out on the ship. If you asked a question, you were often referred to their app. Disembarkation was a terrible mess, the ship was late docking and everyone was asked to leave their rooms anyway and we were kept in lounges waiting to leave for almost two hours. We stood in line for almost an hour after we docked before we could leave the ship. By that time people were upset and getting impatient with very little staff helping to ease the situation. We booked tours for almost all of them through the ship. One of our tours was cancelled and no one let us know until the evening before. I happened to see were weren't booked on their app and went to inquire about it. I was told there wasn't enough interest so it was cancelled and thankfully found a different tour that still had space. Ports were as expected. They were ok to good. The half day tours were hurried with no time for shopping or really getting off the bus, except to take a few hasty photos. The day excursions to Florence and Rome were better. We had knowledgeable tour guides and were able to see as much as possible given the time constraints. The prices were average compared to other ships. I usually book my own excursions through Viator and you get more value for your money. I love to cruise, but I would not book with MSC again. They have a lovely ship, but the Service was not good and the Dining experience was just average. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got ... Read More
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got home from an 8 night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Le Lyrial. We LOVED this ship. The staff were amazing, there was a kids club that I couldn't pull my kids from (more on that), and we were very pleased with the food. Cabins: Cabins are adequate in size. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney boats and the Deluxe Balcony stateroom was just as big, with a decent sized balcony. We had cabins 323 and 325, both rooms were perfect for 2 ppl per cabin with plenty of storage. They took out the balcony divider between out staterooms so we could come and go between the cabins. These staterooms do not connect from the inside. Kids Club: There was a kids club on this cruise, which I don't think is offered on all the itineraries. If there's a kids club, it will be listed. My kids loved kids club. The activities they provided for the children were entertaining. No there is not a basketball court, or all the other kids stuff you find on the Disney and RC boats, but my kids never complained about not having that. In fact, they told us this was the best kids club they've been too. Port stops: Because this is a smaller boat, you port in smaller ports and getting off the boat is so much less stressful. Ponant organizes everything to a "T" and we were very impressed with the tours they provided. We generally do not book cruise ship tours, but these tours never had any more than 20 ppl in a group, again a BONUS being on a smaller boat. Food and Dining: Food was great! There are 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting seating at either of them. I do wish they had a couple more options for the included house wines. With this being a french boat, I was looking forward to tasting some good french wines. They do have them, but they come at a cost. Pool Deck: Never crowed. On a Mediterranean cruise one would have thought you would have problems finding a chair. We never did. Also, ppl do not reserve chairs with towels, which was nice! There were 122 people onboard our ship. Amazing! I can't imagine we will ever be able to go back to a bigger boat after being on the Le Lyrial. I would also like to add that our tour manager, Nina was phenomenal. She organized all our excursions, and they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible. For example, we booked an excursion that was not offered as an inclusion to the US passengers, and was given only in French. My husband and I knew this going into it. We fully expected that we were going on a French speaking excursion and were OK with that. To our surprise, Nina had organized an English speaking guide to accommodate us that day. It was like we had our on personal guide. We did not expect this at all! But again, this is Ponant, and Nina was just exceptional. All in all we will book again with Ponant. Not having to deal with the crowds on embarking and disembarking is so worth the extra cost! Plus the attention you get on the cruise is priceless. Sail Date: July 2019 Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have ... Read More
Where to start: First, we have sailed nineteen times and experienced an array of American AND European cruise products from RCCL, Princess, Costa, P&O, NCL, Holland America etc. The experiences of these diverse products have collectively informed my opinion of our MSC experience. MSC is NOT for the American market share rather, this European line is clearly after the sustainability of the European market share. American products by and large, do not charge a consistently high price for the cruise and then, charge clients for water while on board. Yes... MSC does this. Not even Costa does this. We paid over 3k for our cruise (similar and consistent to what we have paid for with other products like RCCL, Costa, Princess etc.) but while on board the MSC product we were charged for water.... we were amazed, perplexed and terribly disappointed. Its also important to note -what MSC USA sold us was not what we experienced onboard. When we pointed out the discrepancies on board we were told to take it up with MSC USA when we got home. We did, they did nothing to satisfy or settle our issue. We purchased the Fantastica experience, were told drink packages were included - then they somehow were not included. When we argued they were - we were told we had to buy a drink package which we did for our two children (non alcoholic package) and 1 adult alcoholic package. Only to get on board and be told we shouldn't have done that in fact it was included in our package and when we asked to have the initial prepaid packages we purchased refunded they said - sorry it wasn't included... The only thing which we felt was consistent was the inconsistency between what was sold and what we expected to what we actually experienced onboard. Other things we felt were important to note. The excursions - expensive but of little to no substance; again, representing to us an imbalance between what we paid for and what we actually experienced. We purchased several excursions through MSC - and quickly spent MORE TIME transiting to the excursions than we actually did enjoying the place we were visiting. This happend to us in both Arles France and Portofino. In Arles, we spent 3 hours on a bus to experience the town for only an hour. While in Portofino, same things - we paid a fortune to go to Portofino and spent three hours transiting there only to spend an hour IN Portofino... Very little value for money. Similarly, MSC twice docked at a port which they charged a fee to go from the Port facility to the town.... We were left shaking our heads and again, having the experience of other lines, this was an anomaly we felt was important to note for others who are considering this line. The ship itself was clean, comparatively clean to other lines and with cabins which were much larger than the typical stateroom found on other lines. That was about the only two bonuses on this line. Our experience of the ship was in one word -- exhausting. Terribly overcrowded and with clearly overwhelmed staff who continually treated us with discourtesy and disregard. The staff appeared as exhausted of the overcrowded conditions as we were. This was consistent from the bar staff to the dinning staff -- totally overwhelmed and continually discourteous and seemed exhausted..... The common centers on the ship were jammed daily elbow to elbow with people and loud music - wasn't a quiet spot on the ship to be found... ever. The smoking is an experience not commonly found with American products, on European lines - smoking is everywhere and something we found terribly intrusive and distasteful. Imagine placing the ONLY soft serve ice cream station for kids on the ship in the smoking section of the ship... kids actually have to endure cigarette smoke while waiting for their ice cream (which was eventually closed down due to being broken). This careless disregard for children - alone, made us not want to return to this product... ever. We have sailed many ships (19 cruises to date) and several of those other European products. First time we were ever on a ship and product we couldn't wait to leave... first time. The cost of this product comparatively is similar to other lines - RCCL, Princess Holland America - but what you get for your money is wholly inconsistent and as a result, we could not in good conscience recommend this product, especially for families. While MSC is trying desperately to break into the American marketshare, we believe this is going to be extremely difficult as people with experiences such as ours, share our impressions with others. This was an honest and unbiased account of our experience. We hope it is taken seriously so the product may be improved for others going forward. For us, we will not use or recommend this product in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We chose to embark from Barcelona because it was much closer to the port and I prefer starting my cruise on a weekend day. The embarkation was very easy and stress free. We were on the ship in ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We chose to embark from Barcelona because it was much closer to the port and I prefer starting my cruise on a weekend day. The embarkation was very easy and stress free. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Disembarkation was also easy. Very orderly and quick. The ship was pretty good. Cabin location was ideal for me. It was at the back of the ship but had cabins above and below therefore it was quite. The balcony was covered and offered some privacy unlike the ones directly below. I actually like the odd layout of the bathroom, it made getting ready quite easy for 2 people. I had both the unlimited drink and 4 specialty dining package. The dining was awesome. Cagneys, the Italian, French and the Teppanyaki were very good. Also ate at the Manhattan Room twice for dinner. Taste twice for breakfast and the Garden Cafe several times because it was more convenient for those really early mornings excursions. We also did Cirque Dreams which was a dinner show. It was very good entertainment. There were actually really good entertainment onboard. I enjoyed Burn the Floor. Priscilla was interesting. Overall service was good. Ports were excellent but we missed the last port due to passenger falling overboard. All my excursions were booked independently for size and economic reasons. We had no issues with that at all. We were a group of 26 adults. I would definitely do the itinerary again. Now we are looking at Greece/Croatia or Hawaii. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Poor: 1.) Our room and the total ship, for that matter, is very "tired". We actually traveled on the Infinity in 2004 and don't believe any updates have been made since then (dramatization on my part). The crew we talked ... Read More
Poor: 1.) Our room and the total ship, for that matter, is very "tired". We actually traveled on the Infinity in 2004 and don't believe any updates have been made since then (dramatization on my part). The crew we talked to stated a retro is due in October, but that didn't help us for now. Every passenger we spoke to about the ship stated the same thing, ship needs help. 2.) No Captain's Club for check in on pier. 3.) No Aqua Class check in. 4.) Captain's Club desk onboard only open a couple of hours each day 5.) The onboard stage entertainment was poor. The only opportunity possible for a mix was when a comedian was scheduled and then canceled the day before. The substitution was for the same singer we had the previous evening and, although talented, began getting a bit redundant. The idea of "mixing it up" came with cycling in the Celebrity Entertainers. The small combos performing at the bars, were good, on the other hand. 6.) Due to our special dates, my 70th birthday and wife's 64th, both happening during the cruise, we must say that we probably enjoyed this Celebrity cruise the least of those in the past. 7.) The staff ship wide was probably only 25% sincere. Didn't get a real friendly feeling from the majority of our contacts. Good: 1.) Aqua Class was a cruise saver. Aside from the room condition, everything else was terrific. The Blu Room for Aqua Class meals was wonderful. The help was 100% sincere, starting with the front check in down to the whole room staff. Never had to wait for a table and crew attempted to meet whatever requests we may have had. 2.) The included spa steam rooms were a great plus after using the attached gym. 3.) The gym is laid out well the machines all function correctly. 4.) The two specialty restaurants we visited were both great. We did see that one of the ones we didn't try, was the Sushi restaurant. Every time we walked by, there was nobody present to dine. We think they might want to look into replacing with another type. Read Less
Sail Date: February 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I ve cruised on the EPIC 3 times since it s inaugural and 2 times from Barcelona on the European cruise. I was a little disappointed this past september with the variety of food in the main dining room. Food was just OK..no wow factor as ... Read More
I ve cruised on the EPIC 3 times since it s inaugural and 2 times from Barcelona on the European cruise. I was a little disappointed this past september with the variety of food in the main dining room. Food was just OK..no wow factor as other cruise cies. Also i found that the staff (not all) were not as friendly as usual..did not say hi or good morning. Overall the cruise was just OK...not up to par with other cruises i ve taken with Norwegian cruise line. The shows and entertainment on bord was fine. The embarkation/disembarkation process was great...fast and efficient. Gym was great except that is you don t take a trx course and pay you can t use that room with all the equipment. Whereas on other Norwegian ships it s free..if there is no class you can use the equipment...so that was a little disappointing as i workout even on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We choose this cruise because both of us really wanted to experience parts of Europe and this seemed like the best way to do this. We stayed in one of the Haven suites and I have to say we will never go back. The embarkation process was so ... Read More
We choose this cruise because both of us really wanted to experience parts of Europe and this seemed like the best way to do this. We stayed in one of the Haven suites and I have to say we will never go back. The embarkation process was so smoooth. There was a minimum of 1500 people in line to check in. We were whisked away from that line and brought to another line. We filled out 3 short questions, checked in and were on the ship within 20 minutes. We met our concierge before boarding and given a private tour of the Haven private areas. We sat and ate lunch, thinking that we would still be waiting in line if we did not have the Haven. The disembarkation process was the same as well, we took our bags to he concierge desk and taken down a private elevator and were off the boat within 20 minutes. The crew and the boat was fantastic, clean and nice. I highly recommend the Epic and the cruise in general. Everywhere we ate the food was fantastic, especially at teppanyaki our cook was really engaging and funny. We saw 4 shows, cirque, comedy magician, Beatles and rock n roll and all 4 were great and very entertaining. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We were a group of 65 ranging in ages form 10 months to mid 70's. Most of us from New York, a few from Pittsburgh. Had some first time cruisers with us, this was my 30th! Most of us flew in on British Airways from JFK (but it ... Read More
We were a group of 65 ranging in ages form 10 months to mid 70's. Most of us from New York, a few from Pittsburgh. Had some first time cruisers with us, this was my 30th! Most of us flew in on British Airways from JFK (but it was really American Airlines) non-stop and got a rate of $501. We spent two nights pre-cruise at the Hotel Continental Barcelona. We had several families of 3 and 4 and needed a hotel that could accommodate. Used Europe Connect for all of our transfers within Barcelona. Due to the anniversary of the terrorist attack and the protests going on, we were dumped off about 5 bocks form the hotel and had to walk with all out luggage. Driver had no choice, police had streets closed. One tiny elevator that held about 4 people and 2 pieces of luggage at a time was not great for over 50 people checking in at one time. LOL. Hotel rooms were spacious (even for my family of 4) and showers were awesome. The 24 hour snack buffet, and included beer, wine, soda and juice was a great perk. Lovely little courtyard and the balconies were great. Ours overlooking La Rambla. You need to be buzzed in on your floor and turn in your key to the desk when you go out. There are other hotels and a hostel within the building. Amazing location on La Rambla!!! Right in the middle of everything. Spent two nights. We arranged a full day private tour through Spain Private Tour Guides on 08/18. Went to Park Guell, La SaGrada Familia, took a panoramic bus tour and then ended with a walking tour. It was amazing and our tour guide Fernando was awesome! 08/19 Off to the EPIC, embarkation a breeze. Have sailed the EPIC before, the rooms are kind of quirky. Not a fan of the curved walls or the bathroom set-up but certainly not a deal breaker. Storage was an issue, but there were 4 of us in the room and we packed for 11 days away. Day 1: Boarded the ship by about 11:30, rooms were not ready until about 1:40. Had lunch at the buffet and enjoyed the sun and the pool. Dinner at Taste was great. Day 2: Sea Day. Went to the Cruise Critic Meet and enjoyed the sun. Last relaxing day, as we had each and every moment planned for each port. Dinner at Moderno was lovely! Day 3: Rome. We had a packed day planned. Private tour with skip the line access to The Colosseum, and the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps. Brief stop for pizza and gelato in between. Dinner was at Shanghai. we really enjoyed it!! Day 4: Pompei, Vesuvio, Herculaneum. Another jammed packed day! First stop on our private tour was Pompei. It was brutally hot but amazing. A welcome break was had next at the Cantina del Vesuvio, a lovely wine farm on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. We had a tour of the winery, sampled grapes, and had an amazing lunch and wine tasting. The staff was friendly and informative! So glad we planned this. Then it was off to Herculaneum for more exploring. It was scorching and the rain showers were welcomed! This was the day of my son's 11th birthday, and 50 of us dined at Teppanyaki to celebrate. Service was fantastic as was the food! Day 5: Naples: Florence/Pisa. Once again we had a private tour and walked our feet off exploring Florence including the Duomo, Piazza delle Signoria, Medici chapesl, Ponte Vecchio, Baptistry & Bell Tower and the Academia to see Michaelangelo's David. Very brief stop for something to eat and then off to Pisa to Piazza dei Miracoli, to see the Leaning Tower, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistry. Dinner was at Cagney's and was fantastic as usual. Day 6: Cannes-Monte Carlo & Monaco. Had a little issue with our private guide here. We were split into two groups as there were 63 of us. The smaller group got to see Monte Carlo, Monaco, the Medieval Village of Eze and a flower market. The larger group only got to see Monaca and Montel Carlo, both beautiful, but disappointing that we did not see all we had planned to. Dinner was at LeBistro and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Day 7: Palma Majorca: Private tour of the Caves of Drach followed by a stop at Porto Cristo fishing village and beach with time for swimming, shopping, a bite to eat. An amazing day! We had dinner at O'Sheehan's. The food was good but everything came at once, appetizers and entrees. Day 8: Debarkation. The elevators were impossible, even at the late 9 AM time. We walked down from 14. Picked up by our bus and dropped at our post cruise hotel for one night. Post Cruise: One night at the Catalonia Diagonal Centro Hotel. Beautiful hotel with huge rooms and a tiny pool on the second floor. 08/27/18 Time to go home. As we had a 10 AM flight and needed to leave the hotel at 7, we would miss breakfast. The concierge asked how many children were in our group and packed a lovely picnic box for each of them so that they would not be hungry and have to wait to eat at the airport, a wonderful touch! Our transfer bus dropped us off at the right terminal, but the farthest distance from our airline. LOL There is a lot of walking within the airport and we were glad we chose the early pick up time! Kids: My boys are 11 and 13. This trip they did not go to the club at all. Their friends that did, enjoyed their time there. The younger one spent a lot of time at the basketball court. They enjoyed the water slides, ping pong, etc. Entertainment: We were booked for Priscilla Queen of the Damned for Friday night but that show was cancelled. We were rescheduled for Thursday night but it interfered with dinner so we did not get to go. We were so exhausted after all of our excursions, we did not get to any other shows. Our friends loved Burn the Floor and Dueling Pianos. Spent some time at the Martini Bar and enjoyed it. We had experienced Cirque and the Ice Bar on several other occasions so we did not indulge this trip but those that did had a ball. Service: Our cabin attendant Chris was great as was all of the staff we encountered. Excellent service throughout the ship. Summary: My gang of 65 had a great cruise on the Epic. The design is not my favorite of the NCL ships but if the itinerary and price were right, would sail her a third time. The itinerary is awesome, and food and service on the ship was great. I am not great at uploading pictures so I apologize for the lack of in this review. Will be happy to answer any questions if I can! See you again soon NCL! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because our cruise last year on the Norwegian Star was absolutely wonderful, so we thought we’d try NCL a second time. We brought our daughter and her boyfriend (1st time cruiser) with us this time. I read a number ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our cruise last year on the Norwegian Star was absolutely wonderful, so we thought we’d try NCL a second time. We brought our daughter and her boyfriend (1st time cruiser) with us this time. I read a number of bad reviews about the ship a month or two before our sail date and was hoping it wasn’t true (comments about the stateroom design, ugly ship, etc.). Well, although I did like the NCL Star better for the shows, the Epic was still wonderful. While other reviews didnt like the bathroom layout, we preferred the shower and toilet separate. The sink on the outside of the bathroom was fine, we had no issues with it being there, in fact I preferred it. You didn’t have to wait for the other person to come out of the shower if you needed to use the toilet. The service was excellent in all areas of the ship, and the food choices were endless. I like how the pub was open 24 hours. Buffet food isn’t always the best no matter where you are, but there were enough choices that there was no way anyone would be without something to eat. I preferred the shows on the Star but these shows were very good too. You had to reserve a date and time for some of the shows. The staff work very hard, morning till night and they really do want to ensure you’re enjoying your time on the ship. We didn’t book shore excursions through NCL, too expensive. Instead you can find the same excursions through the web or when you get off the ship. We had a great vacation and my daughter’s boyfriend had a fantastic time on his first cruise. He will sail again and so will we. A few tips, take the train from Rome to Civitachecchia, it’s cheaper and very efficient. You can catch it at a number of the stations in Rome. You then pay 2 euro for a bus shuttle to the port from the station right to your ship, We took a ferry from Naples to Sorrento, you can buy your tickets in advance or at the port. Be sure to take your proof of purchase to the ticket window going to and from Naples. Sometimes the printed reservation accepted, sometimes you have to go pick up your tickets. Book tours through Tuscany Bus rather than NCL when docked in Liverno, much more cost effective. Also, we stayed one night in Civitachecchia after the cruse but noticed that there are a lot of companies waiting to take passengers to Rome or the airport for only 20euto a person, most companies charge 150euro online for 4 passengers and luggage. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning ... Read More
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning toilets on decks 5/6. The staff go out of their way to build a good rapport and to make you feel valued, particularly in the Squid & Anchor!! We enjoyed the size of the ship and found it so much better than the extra large super liners than we have experienced in the past, particularly on tender days. The entertainment was varied and high quality as was the food in all restaurants. Our junior suite had an amazing view, extra large balcony with hammock. By comparison, this cabin would have been so much more expensive on other ships. We very much enjoyed the excursions and the 12 port stops out of 14 days. The contrast of cities, beaches, towns was just perfect. Negatives – there was a slight sewage aroma which occasionally filtered into our cabin. However this was not too much of a problem as to spoil our holiday. Pricing – we enjoyed our Caribbean cruise in April 2017 so much that we booked this holiday on return. However, in March 2018, we checked availability and we could have bought the identical cruise for £600 cheaper and there was full availability. We therefore believe that there should be a price promise recognition for those who book particularly early. We have earmarked a cruise for 2019 but will not now book this until next year. All in all, we are very much looking forward to booking another Tui cruise. The All Inclusive is most definitely a plus. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We picked this cruise because it offered a great itinerary for the price and because it offered activities to fit a variety of interests. We travelled as a group of twelve with ages ranging from 12, 16, 19, mid forties to mid fifties. ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it offered a great itinerary for the price and because it offered activities to fit a variety of interests. We travelled as a group of twelve with ages ranging from 12, 16, 19, mid forties to mid fifties. Overall this was a good cruise. This itinerary meant we spent a lot of time off the boat, but the meals and entertainment were decent. Staff were friendly and helpful. The food was below average from what we have had on HA and Celebrity. Drink selection was quite good, but having to pay for bottled water because it wasn't included in drink package was a real drawback for us. Many people commented on the layout of the room as being a negative because the toilet was separate from the shower and sink, but we found this to be convienient when getting ready. There are sliding doors for both areas, so you still have lots of privacy. The boat is huge. We really noticed the crowds on sea day. I would not enjoy this boat on a cruise where you spend a lot of time on the boat. We struggled to find sun chairs and there were long lines at the restaurants and bars. Entertainment was really good. Precilla and the Cirque show were awesome. We don't often attend the ship evening shows, because we find them pretty lame, but it was very entertaining. We booked our own transfers and excursions because the prices from the cruise lines are always much higher. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how ... Read More
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how efficient the embarkment process was for all of us. Highlights: *We chose an inside stateroom, because, we are normally in the room 5 hours a day. Three adults and one large piece of luggage each and we had plenty of space. In May, two of us will share an outside view since there is so much sailing. *Dining main dining room service and food was fabulous! I have to say past poor reviews made me really attentive to quality and taste. We were very pleased. My gluten intolerant daughter was treated like a queen; she preordered her meals for the next night. If she chose to eat outside the dining room she was given Suresh Suyai, the head waiter's business card to get any assistance she needed. Min and Kevin were our table hosts. They were courteous, timely and funny! They recognized our anniversary with a cake and saw that all of our personal needs were taken care of. The head chef also came to the table to make sure we were pleased with our meals. *Gallery Brunch and Tour was more than a tour of massive proportion. My husband and I now truly appreciate the hard work of the kitchen and main dining staff, as well as the room service staff. Everyone should go on this tour and it should be offer at the beginning of the cruise to appreciate the operation of the dining facilities. *Staff: Adson was our server at Chops Grill. He was so pleasant and accommodating we cancelled our plans in the Main Dining room, to eat with him again. When we arrived it was clear he was working somewhere else and appeared within minutes to serve us. We would have preferred that he dined with us. He was took his role seriously, even though, he could be a comedian. His interactions with us sold us on specialty dining. We hope he is on our next cruise! *The ship was incredible! Everyone in our party from 21 years to 55 years loved the bars, casino, pool, dance clubs, spa and ships activities! *Excursions we went on the Palma De Mallorca city tour- the tour guide was very knowledgeable and humorous. Rome express train tour was perfect. It took us to the Vatican City and we were on our own for 6 hours. *Deluxe drink package was easy with the wristband, which should be free, but it's $4.99. I believe we came out ahead compared to purchasing each beverage separately. Before each excursion we would get Red bull and bottled water or coffee. As I stated, I'm anxious to invite my friends on the May 2019 trip out of Miami. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board the ship.....get over it. The bottomline is the crew, the officers, and, even more importantly, the fellow passengers were wonderful. The officers were very present throughout the cruise and the emphasis and training of Azamara staff on crew service was obvious. We were on the Azamara last August in St. Petersburg, Russia and needed cosmetic improvements have been performed and were also very obvious...nice. I would like to compliment the Captain, Safety Office, and crew for their world-class effort to safely bring passengers to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix although the seas were very rough and tenders were required. I have 40 years military experience and the tender execution in Monte Carlo was first rate. The food and beverage service was perfect. The Prime C restauranrt included local produce and treats such as Oysters on the half shell and Oysters Rockerfeller. The veal was among the best I've had and I have dined in ten Michelin one star and higher restaurants in the past year. Prime C is the best restaurant on the ship and well worth the additional charge. Service is perfect. The Aqualina restaurant is also very good and well worth a visit. The white night was great and the effort invested in making the evening exceptional was obvious. The white night food and entertainment was much, much more than I expected....from lobster to crepes, stir fry to grill there was somethibg for everyone. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I really enjoyed my cruise to the mediterranean. However, I think the ship could add a little more diversity for different cultures. It seem like most of the entertainment was geared toward one particular ethnicity. Overall, the ship is ... Read More
I really enjoyed my cruise to the mediterranean. However, I think the ship could add a little more diversity for different cultures. It seem like most of the entertainment was geared toward one particular ethnicity. Overall, the ship is beautiful and the dining experiences were wonderful. One waitress in particular, Simone in the Taste dining room was superb. I liked dining in there just to be pampered by her. One other thing I didn't like was my cabin steward only filled our ice bucket one time during the entire cruise and only changed the linen twice. He said it was Norwegian's policy that they only change the linen every 3 days so if you are on a 7 day cruise, your linen will only be changed twice. The ship is huge and it is easy to get lost on it. I had a wonderful time cruising Europe. It was indeed an EPIC ship with an epic experience. Look forward to experiencing some of Norwegian's other ships. Thanks for the experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I wanted to experience the staff services and theatre dinining. I was very disappointed by how small the carbins were. The staff were very kind and caring in a very professional capacity with humanity and had time to speak with ... Read More
I wanted to experience the staff services and theatre dinining. I was very disappointed by how small the carbins were. The staff were very kind and caring in a very professional capacity with humanity and had time to speak with passengers which was nice..They became part of our extended family. The toltal experience were very stylish and high level of service and cuisines throughout the day. The captain charming a nd tirelessly obliging. Passages have the opportunity to stay on board or to go on an excursion off ship.if they choose.While staying on board there is range of complimentary sport and swimming spa and steam room is yo die for. The Windjammer cruises,dresss for dinner ladies looking gaugeous as they go to dinner. Dining on deck or retreat to dinning room lounge area. Then after dinner retreat to areas for entertainment and cocktail a relaxing time. Later dancing before going back to room with Ac. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Cruised many times on Celebrity Constellation does not meet the quality of others. Food very average.....Indian food bad..no variety ....service poor.....had to request change of dining room waiter....who said I have only. 2 ... Read More
Cruised many times on Celebrity Constellation does not meet the quality of others. Food very average.....Indian food bad..no variety ....service poor.....had to request change of dining room waiter....who said I have only. 2 hands.....onboard shopping really poor....staff said Constellation does not get the better stuff.....we had difficulty. spending our OBC Best part is the Cafe...delicious coffee......cakes....excellent service Beverage package very enjoyable... Itinerary very good. Most shows were very enjoyable.....specially the vocal ones. Jane. Curry stood out as usual. Both her performances were amazing. Her wonderful voice combined with vitality were indeed remarkable. But the other singers were excellent as well.. did not enjoy the last night comedy show nor the ships crew shows except the acrobats who were very. skilled. The magician was good. Wish they would find. new words. for the Liars Club....every cruise they have the same ones ...so boring as we know all the answers ...so not funny anymore Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We went on this cruise as part of the Abraham Hicks large group. It is so wonderful to cruise with people of such high vibration. The itinerary and group workshops were wonderful! We were well taken care of by our wonderful cabin ... Read More
We went on this cruise as part of the Abraham Hicks large group. It is so wonderful to cruise with people of such high vibration. The itinerary and group workshops were wonderful! We were well taken care of by our wonderful cabin attendant, Nino. Our cabin was well located aft and midship. We are used to the newer ships with better storage and bathrooms, than the Constellation. It took some getting used to. The water is very heavily chlorinated and I am allergic. I brought my own water filter, but I could still feel my skin burning and itching from the shower. The group had a large section in the main dining room reserved just for us. The wait staff was very good, Jom, the sommelier, was outstanding. We had the classic drink package included.That said, we couldn't get a martini from the Martini Bar with the classic package. As with the other cruises we have been on, we were nickel-ed and dimed to death from the overpriced specialty dinners to the overpriced shore excursions, shuttles and transfers. We didn't have the outrageous and S L O W internet package. I couldn't complete the Celebrity survey for this cruise because we were also on the Sept 28th cruise. I went up 3 times to the ilounge to complete the survey. When the ilounge attendant was finally there, the internet was too slow for my device. They give you 30 minutes to complete the survey which is sent to your email. The attendant said I would need 3 hours to complete the survey. using their speed and my device. My biggest complaint is that they have NOTHING for back to back cruisers as far as excursions in Venice. I didn't book anything before we left home, because we were given no idea about when we would get our new sea pass. The shore excursion desk was absolutely NO HELP at all. This one man in particular was very spiteful. We needed to know the easiest way to get to San Marco (vaporetto at 15 euro roundtrip) and how to get skip the line tickets for the Doges Palace and the Basilica. This man would give me no information.Celebrity should definitely have pre planned excursions for the back to back cruisers. We would have enjoyed ourselves a lot better had we known how and where we were going and not worry about getting back to the ship on time. Getting on the Cruise Critic role call and planning private excursions is definitely the way to go. We were denied a meet and greet party because we did not have the 25 required minimum. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
It is a nice ship with friendly staff, great destinations and well secured. Excellent food and great entertainment. The weather was fine and one can hardly feel the movements of the ship because it is so big and smooth. What i was not ... Read More
It is a nice ship with friendly staff, great destinations and well secured. Excellent food and great entertainment. The weather was fine and one can hardly feel the movements of the ship because it is so big and smooth. What i was not waiting was the cabin it was too small to cater for 2 adults and 2 children. On booking we were informed that the Children have a bunk bed but not informed that they are upon our matrimonial bed. Really suffocated especially for those who suffer from claustrophobia. For next time sure i will be more cautious because it is a pity with all that luxury one gets a tiny room. The main dinning area was very good and with very friendly staff. Winjammer also had tasty food and sorrento's always there to serve you for 24 hours. Coffee and hot chocolate was handy all the time. we were allowed to bring two bottles of sealed wine on embarkation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We love Celebrity and we love Atlantis. Last year we tried Oceania Marina, loved the food and the cabin but she's not as impressive as the Solstice Class. This was our first time Silhouette. 10 Day Cruise from Amsterdam to ... Read More
We love Celebrity and we love Atlantis. Last year we tried Oceania Marina, loved the food and the cabin but she's not as impressive as the Solstice Class. This was our first time Silhouette. 10 Day Cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Celebrity has definitely upped their game with the food. We found the food to be noticeably improved from our Equinox sailing 2 years ago. We especially loved the Lawn Club (the cookie is a must!). We've always booked Aqua class and this was no exception. We were in cabin 1529, forward, port side. We love the location and it's under the changing rooms so no gym noise. It's also easy to come and go from the pool area. We are staples of the Martini bar and we found all of the wait staff were truly wonderful. We noticed our cabin steward didn't have an assistant. According to her, they no longer have assistance. I felt she did a great job but was slightly overworked. I hope they bring assistants back. We tipped her heavily for always being spot on with fresh towels and keeping our room in ship shape. This was an Atlantis Charter so no drink packages, but we do get extra entertainment, Deborah Cox among many others. The crows was fun and extremely friendly. This was our 4th cruise with Atlantis and would definitely do another. We don't go to the parties much, we are in bed by 10pm usually. We loved Oceania for the cabin and food and slighly higher quality service, but overall we prefer Celebrity. Next May we are doing our first Civilian (Non Atlantis) Cruise on the Solstice, May 11, 2017. Looking forward to great sites, meeting new people, most of all a drink package! Take away. If you're thinking of cruising on the Silhouette, she's wonderful, with great improvements from the Equinox with Lawn Club. If you're thinking of cruising with Atlantis, you won't regret it! With Atlantis the ship has a wonderful energy and the crew really love it (they get tipped 4x from a normal sailing). Everyone is kind and it's whatever you make of it. If you want scandal you can find scandal, but if you're like us and just want to have a pleasant time in all gay setting (no kids), it's awesome but you pay a premium for it. Read Less

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