Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: August 2019
This was our ninth cruise, third with NCL. I am rating it poor simply because of the issues with the cabin, described later. We chose this cruise because friends had already booked this sailing. This was our first cruise in The ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise, third with NCL. I am rating it poor simply because of the issues with the cabin, described later. We chose this cruise because friends had already booked this sailing. This was our first cruise in The Haven and we were hoping for every good thing we've heard about The Haven and we were not disappointed. The experience was awesome, from the minute we checked in until we disembarked we were treated like royalty. Our butler, Helbert, brought us a pitcher of ice water daily, made sure we had milk in the fridge for morning coffee. When we returned to our cabin after excursions, he had left a snack (fruit or sandwiches) along with some sweets for us. The concierge, Omar, lived up to his reputation. He is perfect in that position. We ate in The Haven restaurant for most meals and the food was fantastic, service was excellent. Sharmila and Remi were our favorites, but everyone was friendly and provided great service. While we spent most of our time in The Haven area, all of our dealings with any crew members were pleasant. The washy-washy ladies when entering the Cafe could bring a smile to anyone's face. Other than the specialty dining, we had every meal in The Haven. We chose Cagney's, La Cucina and Moderno for our specialty dining and the food was fantastic. Service in La Cucina was a little slow, but the food made up for it. As for the entertainment, I walked out of Priscilla Queen of the Desert after about 20 minutes, as did many other people. My husband stayed hoping it would get better but it didn't. We had late reservations for Burn the Floor on the last night of the cruise, but had to skip it because of an 0615 disembarkation to catch our flight. We didn't participate in many activities around the ship because we preferred the solitude of The Haven and our cabin. There were a lot of children on this cruise and many of them were running around unsupervised and/or undisciplined. Since we had booked a Spa Suite, we also had access to the Thermal Spa. There wasn't much time to enjoy the spa on this cruise, but we did manage to get there twice and found it very relaxing and peaceful. The entire area was clean and well maintained. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Overview- We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary, which was excellent! The cruise was good, but the itinerary was great. This is a great way to explore the Mediterranean. Dining- The buffet (Garden Cafe) was average. ... Read More
Overview- We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary, which was excellent! The cruise was good, but the itinerary was great. This is a great way to explore the Mediterranean. Dining- The buffet (Garden Cafe) was average. Breakfast had a wide variety of options, but was not the tastiest. If you have time, I suggest eating breakfast in the Taste dining room. Lunch was better tasting and offered pizza, burgers, hotdogs, pasta, salad, a deli, Indian food, Asian food, and ice cream, plus specialties and dessert that rotated daily. We chose not to eat in any of the specialty dining restaurants so each night we ate in either Taste or The Manhattan (the two main dining rooms on board). The Manhattan is supposed to be dressier than Taste, however we saw people wearing a range of athletic clothes to cocktail dresses in both. The food was very good, above average compared to other cruises I have been on. The selection was very wide and everything I had was tasty. Embarkation/Debarkation- very smooth proccess. We were on this ship in 10-15 minutes and off the ship in even less. We booked a Norwegian transfer to the airport so we were able to debark at 6:15 am and arrived at the airport by about 6:40 am. Entertainment- Burn the Floor an Priscilla Queen of the Desert were both very high quality shows. They were entertaining and fun to watch, but were odd choices for cruise ship entertainment. Aside from these shows, I felt like entertainment was lacking. There were a few other gameshows and magic shows to watch/participate in, but nothing too exciting. I felt myself getting bored at night. However, this itinerary is so packed that onboard entertainment was not all that important. Most of our time was spent in port so when we were on the ship we were fairly tired. Onboard experience- The ship did not feel overwhelmingly large. It was very easy to navigate. Once meeting people, it was very likely to run into them again, despite the 4000+ guests onboard. My only complaint is that there were not a lot of public places to sit and look out. Service- service was very good. One of my favorite parts about cruising is meeting the staff and getting to know them throughout the cruise. I was concerned going into this cruise that I would not be able to do that considering the size of the boat and the "Freestyle" setup. However, we met multiple staff who remembered us throughout the cruise, which was very nice. Most workers went out of their way to make us feel special. Barcelona- We flew into Barcelona a day early and did a free tour of the gothic city. It was very good. Nice introduction to Barcelona. We had dinner and stayed at SERHS del Port Hotel, which was very close to La Ramblas as well as the cruise port and well priced. They allowed us to check in early, spoke English well, and were very helpful. Breakfast is complimentary if you book through their website. Overall, Barcelona was our least favorite city on the trip. Naples- Here we used italytours.eu and did a tour of Pompeii, Sorrento, and The Amalfi Coast. First, we went to Pompeii, which is a MUST see. It was hands down one of the highlights of the trip. The tour was great and very educational. Then we had free time to eat lunch and wander in Sorrento. After this, we drove along the Amalfi Coast taking a few photo stops. Very beautiful. Rome- We used italytours.eu again and did the Best of Rome tour. It took us to The Colosseum(we purchased tickets ahead of time to go inside), The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain, where we had free time for lunch, and then to The Vatican where we had a guided tour. This tour was amazing! Great way to see Rome in one day. Livorno- We used italytours.eu again to visit Pisa & Florence. We had a driver who dropped us off in each of these locations, and in Florence, we had a guide who met us for a tour then gave us free time for lunch. ***We loved italytours and would recommend looking into them if you are planning on cruising in Italy. Great, and much cheaper than going through the cruise line.*** Cannes- We took an NCL excursion here because it is a tender port. They take care of your tender for you. We did the Nice and Monaco tour, which gave us free time in both places. Nice was wonderful. It is along the coast and has a large market and several shops and restaurants. Monaco was pretty, but I would not consider it a must-see. Palma de Mallorca- In Palma we took the public bus to the city center. NCL offers the same exact transportation for 5x more. If you walk off the ship and down through the cruise terminal, here are signs pointing you to this bus. You can take line 1 to Place d'Espanya. Here we walked around and shopped and went to a café. Again, it was pretty, but I would not consider it a must-see. However, for 3 euros a piece round-trip, why not? Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We choose this sailing because we were going with friends who seem to like NCL. This is my 3rd sailing with NCL and I’m still not impressed. Their itineraries and excursions are great, but their ships and customer service leave me ... Read More
We choose this sailing because we were going with friends who seem to like NCL. This is my 3rd sailing with NCL and I’m still not impressed. Their itineraries and excursions are great, but their ships and customer service leave me wondering if I’ll give them a 4th chance. I had hopes that this ship would be better since it is larger than the first two cruise ships I’ve been on. I was excited to see an adults only section right up until I saw kids in the area and no one telling them to leave. The rooms were set up horribly. The shower on one side, the toilet on the other, and then the tiny sink in the room. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the lighting was atrocious!! Don’t try to wear make up, brush your teeth, or remove your contacts. The room steward was terrible. It’s the first time I have EVER left a cruise without tipping my room steward an additional tip. Usually, the room steward, dining staff, and your bartender should always get an additional tip. The food leaves room for improvement. The Taste dining room was much better than the buffet options. I do like the freestyle dining to be able to go eat when we wanted versus having a set time. We did not see any of the Cirque shows, but others that I know did and really enjoyed. I met a couple who did the Cirque and dinner show. They said it was great, but I’m surprised there was an extra charge for this. Loved all of the ports of call. However, by the time we got to Palma we were all exhausted. Wish we an extra rest day at sea in the itinerary. Overall, I enjoyed my trip with my friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We’ve had great cruises on both the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade in the past, mainly because we loved the quality and wide variety of theatre and game shows. Okay, so we had a bad experience on the Norwegian Bliss recently, mainly ... Read More
We’ve had great cruises on both the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade in the past, mainly because we loved the quality and wide variety of theatre and game shows. Okay, so we had a bad experience on the Norwegian Bliss recently, mainly because the way that ship is laid out didn’t make for a good entertainment experience for us. But because we had been on the Epic before, we were confident that our sons and their families would enjoy a Mediterranean cruise with us. When they threw in a free drinks package for us all, we were even more confident. Wrong! What we hadn’t realised is that since we last cruised on the Epic, it has been redesigned so that in many areas of the ship it resembles the Norwegian Bliss, and in particular the bits which we hated. For example, to reach the Windjammer restaurant you need to go across the 6th floor. Half of the 6th is a smoky casino and the other half a very noisy but drab pub. Not ideal for small kids to pass through, but it was hard to avoid doing so. Then there’s the Atrium, which is now the location for all the game shows, quizzes, live bands, and cinema shows. It also doubles as Guest Services, Future Cruises, and Excursions, as well as being the main thoroughfare in the ship. All in all it’s absolute bedlam, you can’t hear the quiz questions, you can’t hear what the guest services staff say, and the constant movement of people makes it a totally inappropriate place for entertainment. Now don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy this cruise, but to a large extent it was despite the Epic rather than because of it. The food was good, though the service in the Windjammer was slow: one evening it took over two hours for our party of 10 to get our meal. Hint: use Taste, the service is much better in there and the staff friendlier. The Garden Café buffet was always busy, but we always found a table big enough for us all at the very front of the ship. I’m sorry, though, Norwegian, but the quality and variety of the entertainment on the Epic has gone downhill since the last time we came. Where were the magicians, the flamenco show, the trapeze artists, and the comedians of old? We missed the Burn the Floor dancing show because of the slow service in the Windjammer, and we couldn’t take the kids to see Priscilla and the Desert because it was not suitable for under 18s. What are you doing putting on a show like that when the ship is full of children (school holidays)?!! And as for putting “The Beatles” and the Motown singers on in the Epic theatre as two evening’s main entertainment when the same singers had been performing all week in other venues: well, we really felt short changed. Thank goodness NCL have persevered with the Duelling Pianos: they are the only touch of class in the current entertainment team. One thing that I need to mention about the staterooms is that they all have glass sided toilets and glass sided showers, with nowhere to dress or wash your hands other than inside the bedroom. I was pleased we hadn’t volunteered to have any of the grandkids share our room! Other niggles:- - It’s impossible to find a bar without music where you can have a quiet drink and a chat - The price to get into the circus for a meal and show is now 48 dollars pp including children. Sorry, but I think that’s extortion. - We were constantly being asked to buy raffle tickets. Hadn’t we paid enough? - No fountains or splash areas for older kids. - When the lift goes straight past your floor because one of the Haven cruisers has used their lift override card, it makes you feel very second class - We forked out a lot so that my grandson could acquire tickets on the arcade games, only to find at the end of the week that all his tickets “won” him two plastic rings. Here are my comments about the places we visited - Naples: we walked across the road from the port into the town, which is interesting. The grandkids enjoyed the funicular railway. One of my sons visited Pompei; he said it was still in need of renovation. - Civitavecchia: took the free shuttle bus into town and walked to a nice beach. The kids enjoyed it there. - Livorno: they wanted to charge us 15 Euros pp for a two mile coach trip to the railway station for trains to Pisa and Florence. We stopped onboard…… One of my sons went to Pisa; he said there was a leaning tower in need of renovation. - Cannes: the highlight of the cruise. Lovely town, good shops, good beaches close to where the (well organised) shuttle boats dropped us off. - Palma: they wanted us to pay 15 Euros pp for a one mile return bus trip into town. Instead we took a taxi (9 Euros for 4 people) to the resort of Cala Mayor, a short trip South. Great beach which the kids loved. One thought, though. Why did the boat dawdle all the way from Cannes so that we only got to Palma at 1pm, by which time it was red hot? Were NCL cutting their costs? Would we sail with NCL again? I’m not so sure now. We might go on one of the smaller ships, but the entertainment would have to be getting rave reviews before I booked. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is our third cruise with NCL. Our previous sailings were on Pride of America and Escape. We love NCL and would recommend this cruise line for quality, cleanliness, and service. Embarkation: Very smooth and didn’t take long ... Read More
This is our third cruise with NCL. Our previous sailings were on Pride of America and Escape. We love NCL and would recommend this cruise line for quality, cleanliness, and service. Embarkation: Very smooth and didn’t take long at all. They segmented everyone into groups in the order in which you arrived. They would go through a group in about 15 minutes. From the time we arrived at the terminal until we were onboard was about 30 – 40 minutes. There was plenty of seating and accommodations available such as restrooms, free water, and a snack bar. The waiting area was air conditioned, clean, and comfortable. The embarking operation was organized, adequately staffed, and well ran. Boarding: When you board the ship there was nobody to greet you. You just follow the line of people in front of you and, SHAZAM, you find yourself on board wondering where to go next. Carnival does a good job greeting and welcoming. NCL could improve this part of the experience. Food: It seemed that the food selection at the buffet was scaled back somewhat from what we have experienced on the other two NCL ships. Maybe this is done to entice people into the restaurants? Nevertheless, the food quality was good and there was still a great selection. I am on the Keto diet and my wife is vegan vegetarian. Food selection and quality are important to us, and NCL certainly does this better than Carnival; hands down! Cleanliness: The ship was 5 Star Spotless. NCL does this very well. The ship is always well staffed, and workers are always nearby whenever a mess is made to clean it up immediately. This is also true for the rooms. The cabin attendants are full service, friendly, and helpful. They keep our room neat and maintained around the clock. Beverages: This is the first time that we’ve ever used a beverage package on any cruise line. My wife and I simply do not drink enough for them to come close to being worth the price. However, in this case, it was offered to us as a promotional at a significantly reduced price of $125 per person. With a total cost of $250 for the two of us it fell into the category of good value. This should not be a promotional price; it should be the full-time rate as it is a good rate for both the cruise line and the customer. We did not drink anywhere near $250 worth of retail liquor, beer, or wine. But we did drink more than $250 worth of ship priced liquor-by-the-drink beverages. If ships sold these for a flat rate of $125 per person for every cruise, I am convinced they would enjoy a larger number of customers buying them and netting themselves a larger revenue. As for the customer, they would enjoy a carefree cruise by having a prepaid beverage package which eliminates the worry of sticker shock at the end. Spa: We did not use any spa services this time around. It has been our experience that what you get is never worth the price. We decided to focus our money on more off-the-ship activities this time around. Pools & Hot Tubs: We didn’t swim at any pools, but we did use the “warm tubs” at Spice H2O. I say “Warm Tubs” because they are nowhere near hot. Aside from water temperature the areas are clean and well maintained. Service at the H20 bar was quick and easy. On-Board Entertainment: • Bingo – We always enjoy playing bingo. • Atrium Game Shows – These are fun to do for those in between times. Love them! • Pricilla – Mediocre • Helen Ward Jackson Adel Tribute – Fantastic, highly talented, fun, energetic • Burn The Floor – We never got to see it. They tell you to register, so we did. We registered the day we got on the ship for the only night that was available. As it turned out it was not a show night, it was at the restaurant act. We missed the show. I wish they’d do away with reservations for these shows and go back to just showing up for them. On-Board Shopping: We didn’t do any shopping this time around. None of the stores are open while the ship is docked, which is everyday except one on this itinerary. The ship gets underway around supper time each evening and the stores open then. But our time was spent on other activities during evening hours. Excursions: • Countryside & Wine Tasting @ Florence/Pisa: Fantastic – 5 Star – Totally Recommend • Grasse & St. Paul De Vence @ Cannes: Great – 4 Star – Recommend • Local Wines & Panorama @ Palma Majorca – 4 Star – Recommend • Hop On & Hop Off Bus @ Barcelona – 1 Star – Don’t Recommend, very little information or guidance on where to go, what to do, or how to do it. You’re left to your own wit to figure it out. • Hop On & Hop Off Bus @ Naples – 1 Star – Don’t Recommend, SUCKED! These should be named “Shove’em on a bus and let them figure it out” tours Disembarkation: Leaving the ship was very organized, easy, and quick. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose this cruise because of the ports. Loved seeing all these amazing locations in one week! FYI Europe is hot and humid in summer!! Travelled with twin 17yr olds. Son and husband had a balcony room and my daughter and I had an inside ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the ports. Loved seeing all these amazing locations in one week! FYI Europe is hot and humid in summer!! Travelled with twin 17yr olds. Son and husband had a balcony room and my daughter and I had an inside room. Balcony room was nice because of the balcony (and couch) of course but we actually liked the layout of our inside room better - it was more like a dorm room with seemingly more floor space between the beds than the balcony room. Beds and bedding were super comfortable! The Epic shower/toilet/sink situation didn't bother us at all, in fact, we kind of liked the shower and toilet separate with the sink out in the room better- only problem was no one could come into our room from the hallway when the shower/toilet were being used - doors were frosted but it would still be weird. Food and restaurant choices on Epic were amazing. We went to every "complimentary" eating location available and enjoyed them all. Didn't see a need to pay extra for the other dining options. We're non-drinkers so can't comment on that but it seems like people were sure enjoying their drinks! Favorite shows were Cirque Dreams and Burn the Floor. Very impressive. Also enjoyed the Howl at the Moon musicians - they were super talented, jumping to different instruments for different song requests. We cancelled our reservations for Priscilla after learning about some risque content - glad for the heads up on that. Activities on the ship were nonstop and really fun- game shows, a few dance lessons, some exercise classes, other music, etc. We aren't gamblers but there was a large casino. Fun sports court, rock climbing, trampoline, and water slides. Only disappointment was the TINY swimming pools- we didn't even bother going to "swim". Fitness room was huge. Didn't use the spa services. Kids really enjoyed teen club and teen activities and are still in contact post-cruise with people they met there. Must say service was excellent and cruise director team was a really fun group with nice personalities. Also, staff kept the whole ship spotless and also highly encouraged cleanliness with people spraying you with hand sanitizers before getting back on the ship and before eating at the buffet - much appreciated and we did not get sick. We didn't do ship excursions because we wanted more of a private tour situation than tour buses would have provided. By the end, we were exhuasted - it's a port-heavy cruise and then you get back to the ship and there's more fun stuff to do - but very worth it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose the Epic for its itinerary, which worked out very well. The ports visited allowed us to get a great overview of Europe for our first time to the area. Waking up in a new destination each morning without having to pack and unpack ... Read More
We chose the Epic for its itinerary, which worked out very well. The ports visited allowed us to get a great overview of Europe for our first time to the area. Waking up in a new destination each morning without having to pack and unpack or the stress of organizing transportation between destinations was fantastic and our primary reason for taking this cruise. As a mobile hotel room the cruise worked well. The cruise itself had little else to offer. We have stayed at multiple all inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean and the Epic did not come close to the resort experiences we have at in those land based vacations (which admittedly may not be a fair comparison). The food on the Epic did not meet expectations. We ate at 3 specialty restaurants, both main dining rooms and the buffet. Cagney's and Le Bistro were better than the rest but far from excellent or memorable. If they were restaurants near my home I would not return after eating there the first time. Our meal at La Cocina was not good especially given the premium paid. The main dining rooms had uniformly poor service with staff that was a mix of inexperienced staff with poor training and seasoned staff with less than stellar skills or motivation. The food ranged from inedible to passable with not one appetizer or entree being a standout. Our family of four would generally have one of four appetizers and entrees being good, 2 OK, and one really bad at each meal. A buffet breakfast is usually a fantastic start to a vacation day and hard to mess up. There were some good items here, but my wife appropriately compared the quality to the free breakfast at a Holiday Inn. The entertainment options were generally poor. Our teenage kids often stated that they were bored after dinner. They would go off and wander on their own for an hour but invariably end up back at the room well before we expected them. The two shows offered in the theater were not to our taste. We did go to see Queen of the Desert but left after an hour, not because of the subject matter (which did send many guests headed to the exits early in the show) but because the show was long and not entertaining. The pools are incredibly tiny, warm, crowded and oddly cloudy. Our stateroom metal ceiling panels rattled so much that we had to wedge sneakers in to prevent being woken up at night. Our room only had hot water in the sink. The customer service desk was a complete disaster with huge lines at all times even 3 days into the trip. We frequently received wrong information or contradictory information from different crew members. It felt like a bad department of motor vehicles parody. You would get to the front of the line only to be told you were waiting in the wrong line. After switching lines you would be directed back to the first line you were in. This happened more than once. There were many more small issues that would have been minor by themselves but when taken as a pattern showed a lack of commitment to customer service or a desire to please the traveler. There was some positive. The ship and our room were very clean. The bathroom layout, while odd, worked very well for us. Someone could be showering while someone else was using the toilet and a third person was brushing their teeth all at the same time. A great setup when rushing to get to and excursion or a dinner reservation. The balcony in our room was large and relatively private. The flip down bed gave each of the kids their own space without having to share a bed. Embarkation and disembarkation were incredibly easy, with no lines and efficient and timely handling of our luggage. We used room service breakfast a few mornings as a time saver when we had an early excursion and they were right on time. Overall our experience was fair to poor. We may just not be cruise people. If I was to try a cruise again we would book with a different line in hopes of a better on ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We did the Norwegian Epic cruise out of Barcelona, Spain on July 14 - July 21, 2019. To be honest, I was very apprehensive about the cruise after reading so many negative reviews on cruise critic BUT it was WONDERFUL!!! In fact, I joined ... Read More
We did the Norwegian Epic cruise out of Barcelona, Spain on July 14 - July 21, 2019. To be honest, I was very apprehensive about the cruise after reading so many negative reviews on cruise critic BUT it was WONDERFUL!!! In fact, I joined cruise critics roll call and was able to gain a lot of insight from other travelers on what to do and things that others had learned. We are avid cruisers and Disney is one of our favorite cruise lines but we decided to do Norwegian because of the price. I will attempt to give an overview. We boarded in Barcelona. We took a cab from the airport to the port. It was a fixed price of 36 or 39 euros. Check in was so smooth and fast! I did the on-line check in prior to us leaving and it was one of the fastest check-ins that I have experienced. The ship was very well maintained. I did not see dirty or stained areas. We were on floor 8 in a balcony cabin. I did not care for the lay out of the room but we only got ready and slept in the room. There were 3 of us in our cabin. I did not like the frosted shower-like doors for the toilet area but we lived with it. Once again, we just got ready and slept in the room. The dining was amazing. We had 3 free specialty dinings (for the first 2 of us) and we paid for my daughter. We ate at La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Cagney's. The food and service was superb. This was our first time to ever do any extra charge restaurants because I think you already have so much on a cruise, but since it was free, we tried it. I will say we loved it!! You felt so special, at ease and relaxed and knew you had one-on-one service. BUT, there free dining is also amazing. There is such a variety of foods. The buffet had a different them each night. (Mexican, Mediterranean, Grilled, Italian and I don't remember the others.) Also, there was a person making fresh, made to order crepes at the buffet. That may have been all nights but I used it Tuesday - Thursday for sure. Everyone in the dining rooms and dining areas were very attentive. The dining rooms and buffet areas were beautiful. They all had windows where you could look out and view the water. The front dining room at The Garden Cafe buffet was beautiful and all windows. LOVELY VIEWS!! The food reminded me of when we first started cruising 20+ years ago and that was what you looked forward to. I cannot give an honest opinion of the activities because we were off the ship each day in port and by the time we came back, got ready, and ate, we were ready to crash for the night. We did go to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but left. I knew it would have drag queens but there were too many other things that I felt were inappropriate and were not for me nor my family. We did see a comedian and he was funny but they really needed to use a larger venue because we were packed into one of the areas and there was standing room only. We missed Burn the Floor and we choose not to do Cirque Dreams because we did not want to pay for a show. We saw the Beatles Mania show and it was enjoyable. Our cabin steward was very nice and always checking on us. He checked with us each day to see if everything was OK and if there was anything that we needed. I did want extra blankets and when we got back to the room, they were on our bed. Everyone on the ship, from guest services to the gift shops, seemed pleasant and friendly. I know some people asked about laundry and ironing of clothes. They have a laundry service on the boat but of course it is high. On Wednesday, there was a flyer in the room that advertised that you could fill a bag with clothes and they would be washed and returned to you by Friday. The cost was $19.95. We did fill a bag with our underclothes and tshirts and they were washed and back in the room by Friday evening--all for $19.95 You do have to write the special or promotion on the bag of laundry in order to receive it. I will try to give a run down of what we did each day. We did not book any excursions through Norwegian. We used outside tour companies that were less expensive and fewer people. I gave them a poor on shore excursions because of the prices. I learned this a few years ago when we did a cruise around the Greek Isles. Day 1, we embarked on Sunday in Barcelona and Day 2, Monday was a day at sea. Thank goodness for that!! We were exhausted after our flight from the US. We slept in and just roamed around a little on Monday. Every other day, you are at a port. The day of rest helped us--- I don't know if I could have gotten on in Civitavecchia and then had to do ports with no rest, if I could have made it! Day 3 - Tuesday was Naples Italy. We used Italy Tours and booked Pompeii, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. There were 14 people in our van and it was wonderful. Our driver met us at the port, we loaded into the van and started our tour. We got back to Naples about 1 1/2 hours before we had to be on board, so there was time to go into Naples if you wanted. Day 4 - Civitavecchia (Rome)--We did not book a tour because we visited Rome for several days in 2016 so we did our own thing. We got off the ship and there were many people at the port where you could book tours or take a bus to Rome. We got on one of the Smart Tours buses and once the bus was full, they brought you to Rome. You were dropped off at a point near the Vatican and then they gave you a time to be back and the bus picked you back up at the same spot and brought you back to Civitavecchia to board the ship. The cost was 23 or 25 euros per person and you had to pay cash. They did not accept credit cards. When we got on the bus, it was almost full so we only had to sit about 15 minutes before leaving. From what I heard, some people sat on the bus almost 1 hour waiting for others to get off the ship and board. You may want to keep that in mind. Italy Tours had some small group tours for Rome but since we had spent several days here a few years ago, we just walked and revisited some of our favorite things and took our own tour. :) We stayed far away from the Vatican that day because it was Wednesday and the Pope was doing mass so it was VERY CROWDED. Make sure to get gelato. This will help cool you off and Rome gelato is so very good. Day 5 - Livorno - We did a small group tour with Italy Tours. There were 7 of us in our group plus the driver. We did the tour called the Best of Florence and Pisa. Our driver met us at the small port (it was very easy to find him) and we went to Pisa first and then to Florence. We got to Pisa by 8:15 and the first group allowed to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not until 9:00 so we were able to get our tickets and be in the first group to climb the tower. Walking and viewing the grounds was great! It was a highlight for us to be able to climb to the top of the tower. After doing this, I would suggest being in the beginning groups. The lines get longer as the day goes on and it gets HOTTER!! Also, you could not bring any bags in the tower. You had to lock purses and backpacks up in a secure area before climbing the tower. We then went to Florence and met up with a guide and were put with some other group for this guide. Florence was beautiful and even with the other group, we were still only 15 and our guide. Our tour company offered to add the skip the line tickets, which we purchased, and went to the academia to see the original David. The additional group of people that we joined up with in Florence did have an elderly lady who had trouble walking and keeping up and those persons eventually left the tour and said they would go on their own. Florence is an amazing city--the bridge with the shops on it is just amazing. Day 6 - Cannes - We did not do a tour with an outside company (but if you start early enough, you should be able to). You have to tender into Cannes. Make sure to book your tender early and don't waste 1/2 day on the ship waiting to catch a tender to get off. Once in Cannes, we went to Monaco. You can take a train from Cannes to Monaco and it is about a 50 minute ride. If you decide to do this on your own, here are a few tips that we learned the hard way! :) To get to the train station, once you walk out of the port area and get to the main road, take a right. When you get to the Cannes tourism office (it is a big mirrored building on the right), take a left onto the street that is across from the tourism office. You will walk several blocks down that road and then you will see the train/bus station. If in doubt, ASK. Once inside, DO NOT try to use the kiosk to buy your own tickets. Go in the station and go to the ticket office to the left (it is inside more glass doors and it has a working AC). Once inside, pull a number ticket and wait for your number to come up and then ask the agent to help you buy a ticket to Monaco. It was 36 euros for all 3 of us. BEFORE you board the train to Monaco/Nice, make sure you find the yellow VALIDATION machine and validate your ticket. I think you get in major trouble if you do not validate your ticket before boarding. If you don't see a machine, ask someone where to validate the ticket and they will show you. Take the train to Monaco and then follow the signs (brown, historical) to the palace. There are lots of things to see and quaint little shops near that area. We did not go to the casino but that is also available. When you are ready to leave Monaco, you can get off the train in Nice on the way back to Cannes and do some wandering there. We did not do this because we lost time trying to find the train station and getting the wrong kind of ticket and having to switch out. If you have plenty of time, others say this is wonderful to do. We spent all of our time looking around Monaco and then we were having to sprint to make it back to the ship!! Day 7 - Palma De Mallorca - To be honest, when we booked this trip, I had never even heard of this place. I was thinking in my mind that we would probably be so tired from our other tours and adventures, we could just stay on the ship. DON'T STAY ON THE SHIP!!! This place is beautiful. It is the largest island in all of Spain. Once again, we did not book any tour. There are shuttle buses that take you from the port to the town center. BOOK YOUR SHUTTLE RIDE BEFORE SATURDAY MORNING. The shuttle ride from the ship to town is $15 per person. Book your shuttle Thursday night or Friday. If not, you will spend a long time in line on Saturday morning to buy a shuttle ticket. For those who do book their shuttle ticket prior to Saturday morning--when you get off the ship and you see a LONG line of people that look like they are waiting to get on a shuttle, do not go to the end of the line and get in line. These are the people who are waiting to purchase their shuttle ride. Let someone know that you already purchased your shuttle ticket, and they will tell you to go straight to the shuttle bus. Meaning, you will by-pass this long line of people who did not pre-purchase. Once you ride the shuttle, it will bring you into town near the church. There is a hop-on hop off bus tour you can buy here that will bring you around the entire island. I think the HOHO bus tour was 18 euros per person. This island has many sights to see and some amazing shopping. It is beautiful and I think it would be a great place to visit on a future vacation. Once again, this was an AMAZING CRUISE, with amazing food and ports of call. For all of those who are concerned because of the negative reviews, my advice would be to ignore them and go expecting a great time and have an awesome vacation. We loved it and will definitely be trying more Norwegian cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
If you have a choice between NCL and another company, choose the other company. I have been on 5 cruises now and this one was by far the worst. The staff were very unhappy and hated their jobs. If there was a word that was worse than ... Read More
If you have a choice between NCL and another company, choose the other company. I have been on 5 cruises now and this one was by far the worst. The staff were very unhappy and hated their jobs. If there was a word that was worse than “garbage” to describe the food at the buffet and free dining areas (Manhattan and Taste), I would use it. I have summarised the experience in detail below. Service - unenthusiastic, unhappy, rude staff We boarded the ship at Barcelona (14th - 21) and headed straight to Shakers, the martini where we were greeted by an unhappy, unenthusiastic bartender that looked like he hated his job (common theme amongst the staff around the whole cruise). No smiles, no hello’s, not even a name introduction in the formal dining areas. Additionally, I was appalled with the service at the pool bar...where I asked for a simple “blue lagoon” cocktail and the bar tender responded with “that’s just a pina collada” and then refused to make the drink for me. Overall, the staff on every deck were either unhappy, unenthusiastic or rude. Food - Horrendously bad (microwaved, store-bought sludge) Calling 90% of the food “food” would be misleading and deceptive. I’m glad from reading a lot of the reviews below that I’m not alone. At the buffet, the eggs are best described as yellow dyed pieces of rubber or milky sludge and the meat resembled overcooked road kill. At Manhattan and Taste, the meals tasted like frozen TV dinners. If I wanted to pay for reheated frozen reheated meals, I would have ordered weightwatchers. Additionally they were terrible at managing dietary requirements (see below). Dietaries - unorganised, clueless and constantly said they couldn’t help because “food was prepared outside” The staff were also clueless on how to deal with our simple dietary requirements. I am anaphylactic to walnuts meaning that getting my dietary correct is very important. Additionally, my boyfriend is vegan (which we let NCL know when we booked months in advance) but he nevertheless wasn’t expecting any special treatment other than there being 1 or 2 options. When we first got to our rooms, we received a letter that our dietaries had been confirmed by the staff and that were able to accomodate which we were happy with. However, when we went to the dining areas we were always met with “this food was prepared by another company so we cannot confirm it meets your dietary requirements”. At Manhattan, my boyfriend asked if there was anything that could be made vegan on the menu (there was nothing on the menu at the time) and the waiter offered him the steak without sauce... that’s right he was offered a steak for his dietary requirement. We didn’t expect NCL to go out of there way to accomodate us but we expected more than being told that they couldn’t confirm anything and my boyfriend especially expected to not be offered steak when he stayed multiple times that he is vegan and confirmed it months prior to embarkation. Scams - free money scam and spa scams If anyone from NCL is reading this, free money means money is given for nothing in return. Giving you a deposit for a future cruise and you giving back onboard credit is not free money. Please look up the definition of free and adjust this scam marketing ploys title accordingly. Additionally, my boyfriend had apparently “won” a second spa raffle (there was no public raffle for this mysterious second raffle) where he was offered a discount on acupuncture services. Instead of paying 600 they offered it at 480 (wow we won a discount!). The only thing separating NCL from your average hawker on the streets of any European city is that NCL hawks on a boat. Activities - boring if you are under the age of 65 Shows were okay (howl at the moon were good). That’s about as far as the good activities go. For some reason (making money) you had to pay for a lot of activities that are usually free on other cruises. The “free” activities they did have made me feel like I was in a retirement village or an infomercial. Would have been nice if more time was spent on the actual activity then being sold something whether it be photos, spa packages and other cruises. Positives The gym and their staff were the only good thing about the ship. We did meet some friendly staff here and there, however this was an unlikely occurrence. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I can not say enough about the Haven and the staff on the Epic. This was our first cruise and Norwegian and the Haven were recommended to us by friends. We had two families with us and were well taken care of by William our butler and ... Read More
I can not say enough about the Haven and the staff on the Epic. This was our first cruise and Norwegian and the Haven were recommended to us by friends. We had two families with us and were well taken care of by William our butler and Ray his assistant. William even decorated our room for our upcoming birthdays! We each had our own 2 bedroom suites which were well appointed and comfortable. There were only 3 of us in our suite so it felt very spacious. The rooms could do with a refresh, which I believe is being scheduled for dry dock in the near future. However i found them tasteful and clean. The Haven restaurant was superb and I never got bored of the food. Excellent wait staff and only busy on 2 occasions but still was a pleasure dining. Posh deck was a great retreat after a long day at port and Ed and Kerwin were our saviors with ice cold drinks and pleasant smiles. Always found a seat and loved the privacy. I do wish there was a pool or shower in posh just to cool off but the Haven pool was just a deck below. However, access to it required you to walk through the haven restaurant or concierge in your swimsuit/towel to get to it. The staff in the haven just blew me away with their always ready to please attitude. The concierge staff was also at your service and the priority on and off the ship at ports was much appreciated, especially the day of the tendering. Thank you Omar for an easy on and off the ship every time!! We didn’t do much else outside the Haven except a couple of shows, Cagneys one night, and the Ice Bar, all of which we enjoyed. My friend had a massage one night that I think she enjoyed. We walked around the ship but always found ourselves back in the Haven enjoying the perks that we paid for. I would do it again in a heart beat. We found the entertainment to be top notch and even our teenagers enjoyed it. The slides were fun at the pool and the kids enjoyed the ship activities. I do wish Posh would stay open later than 6pm. 7 seems more reasonable on such a port intensive cruise. I want to shout out to Captain Marco for taking the time to meet with us for our daughters birthday. That was a highlight of the trip. It was a pleasure learning more about the ship and what he does to keep this small city running smoothly. Clearly he leads by example for all the crew. Thank you again for being so generous with your time! My only regret is that we did not book our next cruise before we got off the ship. We were having so much fun we never made it down to talk to anyone. I can not review any excursions because we did private ones with our group of 8. I will add that I had no idea that as Haven guests we could exit the ship earlier in port. I would have left the ship on some days to get out earlier if I had known to schedule it in advance. However it is a minor detail in the scheme of things. One thing to note is that I really think Norwegian should include water in the beverage package. Not just for haven guests but for anyone with a package. At the very least, one liter per day, per beverage package. Again, a minor detail but sometimes the little things can make it or break it for some people. Overall, we would absolutely recommend our experience on The Norwegian Epic in The Haven. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this cruise as much unless I were staying as a Haven guest but we specifically booked it for the amenities included in the Haven. We wanted to feel pampered and that’s just what The Haven and the Epic staff did for us! Thank you Captain Marco and the entire staff of the Norwegian Epic and Haven!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise because it offers solo cabins that are very comfortable, beautiful and affordable. The Embarkation and and disembarkation was outstanding. The individuals at each port and shore excursions go above and beyond to leave ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it offers solo cabins that are very comfortable, beautiful and affordable. The Embarkation and and disembarkation was outstanding. The individuals at each port and shore excursions go above and beyond to leave on time. The buses are coach motor buses, air conditioned, with tour guides that are super friendly and full of knowledge. My favorite tour was from Florence and Pisa. This ship is full of entertainment, activities, music and simply fun. The decor of this ship is amazing. The main dinning experience I loved, because there is no "set time" to eat. I felt very relax when it comes to dinning. The only negative thing I would add is that there is a need for more VEGAN or Vegetarian options...But I manage to go around the limitations. My cabin was outstanding and my room service lady (Jiotti) was amazing. She made sure my cabin was cleaned at all times (fresh towels, bed made, everything fresh). The solo VIP area was kept full of goodies, tea, ice, coffee, fruits, etc. I will book another trip with Norwegian. I want to note, that I will NOT book AIR with them. It was very complicated to arrange seats and to find my reservation. I had to do a lot of research. The flight back from Barcelona to JFK was a nightmare due to gate distances and I had to take a shuttle. Then the flight from JFK to FLL was another nightmare. Delays and gate changes. I will book my cruise with Norwegian, BUT NOT AIR... The trip was amazing and It was outstanding. I made TONS OF FRIENDS that our friendship will last forever. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had looked forward to a wonderful vacation, visiting great places with friends. The ports of call did not disappoint but the Norwegian Epic was an 'epic' failure. We have traveled extensively and we know that not everything ... Read More
We had looked forward to a wonderful vacation, visiting great places with friends. The ports of call did not disappoint but the Norwegian Epic was an 'epic' failure. We have traveled extensively and we know that not everything can go right, but we are baffled at how Norwegian Cruise Lines stays in business. We were looking forward to letting everyone know of the great cruise we had but unfortunately that's not the case. Here are the highlights (lowlights): 1. Food at the buffet breakfast was the same EVERY day. Horrible. One day I took a plastic cup for orange juice and there was lipstick on it. Awful !!! The sit-down restuarants were good but service was often very slow. Cagney's and La Cucina were the exception - they were very good and servers were very friendly and attentive. 2. The adult pool was incredibly small - any more than 10 people was a crowd - and we could never find a deck chair in that area. Very poor. 3. On our excursion to Pisa and Florence, the tour guide insulted my wife and then proceeded to tell stories about Asian tourists in Florence. Very rude and can't believe Norwegian would contract with companies that hire this type of employee. 4. On the final day of our cruise, there was a gasoline spill on deck 15. Fumes were released into the ventilation system. My wife and I awoke to the fumes. My wife became light-headed and nauseated. I tried calling the Medical Center but no one answered the phone. I called the operator and was told that "they are aware of it. Guests should leave their room or go out onto the balcony for fresh air". I proceeded to take my wife to the Medical Center where we we greeted very rudely by the receptionist who offered my wife Tylenol but wanted us to pay for it!! She was still not feeling well so we were taken to an examining room where a nurse and doctor examined her, took an xray, EKG and bloodwork. All tests thankfully were negative but the experience was horrible. I went to the cruise desk to discuss the situation and was eventually taken to discuss what happened with the General Manager Nelson Martins. He was very sympathetic to what happened and promised to let me know the outcome of his investigation. I spoke to him later in the day and he met us in the Taste restaurant. He provided a letter explaining that if we wished to pursue the issue further, we could contact NCL Guest Relations. Gee, thanks! We can now spend countless hours on the phone with NCL Guest Relations, write letters and in the end maybe get a small credit towards a future cruise. Thanks, but not going to waste my time. We wouldn't consider cruising on NCL ever again anyway. 5. The ship in general feels very overcrowded. There is very limited space for quiet relaxation on deck. The staff was overall not friendly and most of the time we did not feel that we were welcome on the ship. 6. The layout of the stateroom was awful. Toilet area separate from the shower and basically exposed to the entire cabin with no attempt in the design for privacy. Storage was minimal and somewhat hidden. We found some cabinets above the bed on our last morning while packing to go home. The curved couch was not only uncomfortable but basically not usable for seating since it is very narrow. The person who designed the room should be fired. 7. We discovered that some elevators did not stop at Deck 5. This was very inconvenient and was not at all marked on the ship. 8. As part of our 'deal', we received the Ultimate Beverage Package. It included soda, juice, wine, and other alcohol drinks with top shelf liquor. The only thing it didn't include was WATER !!! Norwegian is happy to get you sloppy drunk but if you are interested in staying hydrated and healthy after touring some cities during July summer heat, sorry - you need to BUY bottled water. I understand cruise ships have limited space and bottled water can take up a lot of storage area but you would think a multi-million dollar corporation would be able to figure this out and provide water to its customers. VERY POOR. 9. We would rate our overall experience at a 3 on a scale of 1 (very poor) to 10 (excellent). The only reason the rating would be that high would be because of the ports of call and all they had to offer. If we had to rate the NCL Epic and its staff, the rating would be a 1. This is a wonderful part of the world to experience - we would just recommend not using NCL as your cruise line. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We did a 7 night out of Barcelona (July 14-21). The trip was fantastic. To our group, this trip was about the ports - not nearly as much about the ship. However, both the ports and ship pleased on every level. I had read so many ... Read More
We did a 7 night out of Barcelona (July 14-21). The trip was fantastic. To our group, this trip was about the ports - not nearly as much about the ship. However, both the ports and ship pleased on every level. I had read so many reviews on CC that I was a bit nervous going into the trip. We had 7 people, 4 rooms (3 balconies, 2 of which were connecting, and one studio). Embarkation - we were amongst the first people at the dock in Barcelona (we had spend 4 days in the city prior). We were checked in and on board with little hassle. We were literally the second group at Guest Services and there were no Haven passes available upon boarding. No big deal. Our rooms were smaller than usual, and the setup is exactly as everyone describes. Yes the toilet and shower are odd... and the curvature of the room makes for a different layout. But the rooms were not any smaller than what you'd expect on a cruise ship. The room steward was excellent as they usually are. The beds did seem a bit short - but we've had the same experience on other cruises. While I didn't love the room setup, it was fine and pretty much exactly what was expected. One note - Thanks to the recommendations on CC here, we purchased the Thermal Spa pass. BEST MONEY YOU CAN SPEND. The spa is amazing, and we took almost all of our showers in the spa. That place is awesome and I can't recommend it highly enough. It is worth the investment. We had 4 specialty dining nights - and chose Cagneys (absolutely excellent), Teppanyaki (typical Japanese hibachi place, nothing great, but exactly as expected), La Cuccina (good), and the Cirque dinner show - which was such a mix. At the Cirque show, the service was the only time we felt neglected on the ship (they were terrible), but the food was pretty good (not outstanding, but good). However, the show itself was excellent. All the entertainment we saw (Priscilla, Burn the Floor, the Beatles show) was excellent. Back to food - we avoided the buffet at all costs, but the few times we were there at breakfast, seating was plentiful if you walked forward. Some people chose to go down one deck to La Cuccina where they had additional seating. We never once had a long wait at a bar for the drink (UBP). Granted, we didn't use the pool bar too often as we were in Spice H2O. But even when we did use the pool bar, we never had trouble. I was afraid after reading so many reviews on here that the wait for drinks would be insane. Not at all our experience. And our ship was packed. Casino was centrally located and we expected the worst. It was somewhat smoky but not as bad as other ships. The fitness center was quite large, and fit our needs perfectly. As for the ports after reading reviews here, we went with Italytours.eu and Barcelonadaytours.eu. I cannot state enough how excellent their services are. We were met as we walked off the ship in 3 Italian ports (Barcelona we were staying in a hotel, so it was easier). We had private tours in Naples (Pompeii, Sorrento, & Amalfi Coast), Rome (Best of Rome), and Livorno (Florence & Pisa). These guys took care of everything - handled it extremely well and took the stress out of everything. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Disembarked on our own and were amongst the first off the ship at 5:45 A.M. (We had an early flight and it was going to be close, but easily made it). We were off in a breeze and cabs were waiting already. If you're looking for a port intensive European itinerary, the Epic is great. I can't recommend enough Italytours.eu. Oh, and for those interested, the ship docks starboard side to in every port except Barcelona. We were on the port side with balconies on the 13th deck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have done a lot of cruising and have never seen a cruise ship set up like this! Rooms were the worst. You open the door to look at a shower with a frosted glass door on your right and a toilet with a frosted glass door on your left. If ... Read More
We have done a lot of cruising and have never seen a cruise ship set up like this! Rooms were the worst. You open the door to look at a shower with a frosted glass door on your right and a toilet with a frosted glass door on your left. If you are using either of these and some one walks in the room they will see you! You can see and hear everything in those! Absolutely no privacy. The bed was AWFUL. A rounded headboard and 2 twin mattresses making it a king size bed. But they are rounded on the top and bottom so your feet hang off all night. I’m only 5’2”. Absolutely horrible lighting. You can’t even read a book or put make up on. The hair dryer plugs in below the desk and it’s almost impossible to stretch the cord to reach your head. Ours was not working anyway so had to ask for another one. No storage. The drawers were so narrow you couldn’t put clothes in them. Room stewards were hardly around and not very friendly. I was never called by my name when he was around. Rug was filthy too. Hallways were curved and very strange. The 2 pools were like postage stamps crammed with people and kids. Water temp was in the 90’s. The kiddie pool area had a spraying part which did not work at all. Buffet was very mediocre and service horrible. The main dining room food was just ok & horrible service. I can’t say anyone working for them went out of their way to be friendly except for the washy washy girl when you entered the buffet. They rest of the staff should take a few lessons from her. Not many photo shooting opportunities in the evening and we were a group of 11 family members with kid 3,4,7,16 and the one photographer said she couldn’t take pictures of a group that big...what?? And if someone was having a photo shoot where they were doing it was so inconvenient that there was no room to walk around them. You either interrupted them or had to wait to get by. Shows were practically non existent. The good things were the upgraded dining rooms and staff. Excellent! The main reason I chose this ship were the ports they went to and that did not disappoint. Wonderful but I hired all private excursions which were also wonderful and less money then the ship charges & just our family. We did not realize that this ship has two ports for boarding and embarkation. Talk about confusion getting off the ship that day for an excursion. Tried to get a taxi at Barcelona port and waited over an hour. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 20th anniversary present to each other, so we wnted to hit some major ports. We arrived in Barcelona at el Prat airport and after a very short wait were set up on our transfer bus to the port. The embarkation process went ... Read More
This was our 20th anniversary present to each other, so we wnted to hit some major ports. We arrived in Barcelona at el Prat airport and after a very short wait were set up on our transfer bus to the port. The embarkation process went very smoothly and soon we were on the pool deck enjoying a light lunch and some adult beverages. We had booked a Spa mini-suite which gave us unlimited access to the thermal relaxation facilities, and we took advantage of them several times during the cruise. Our first full day was an at sea day, We took in the Cirque Dreams dinner show which was fantastic. The rest of the week was a new port and excursion every day. In Naples we did the Hop on- Hop off bus tour of the city. This allowed us to ride the bus to interesting points then get off and explore on our own. We had Pizza Margherita at a wonderful spot called Pizzeria Oliva, then we were off to a Cameo factory where the wife picked out several beautful pieces. Then back on the bus for some breath-taking vista overlooking the city and the bay. In Rome, it was the Forum, the Vatican museums ,the Sistine chapel and St Peter's Basilica. All of the beautiful. The next port was Livorno. We took walking tours of Pisa and Florence, where we saw the Leaning tower, Michelangelo's David, the Piazza del Duomo, the Fontana del Porcellino, and the Uffizi museum. Friday we arrived in Canne. Our excursion took us to the principality of Monaco, and Monte Carlo where we toured the Grand Casino, saw the Palace and the Oceanographic museum. Monaco was positively beautiful. Saturday we visit our last port before returning to Barcelona. The wonerful city of Palma on the island of Mallorca. We took a bus tour to the village of Valdemossa up in the mountains outside of Palma, where we enjoyed some sangria and quiet stroll through the village for some shopping before heading back down to see Palma itself. We really enjoyed this tour. Next stop Barcelona. We opted to stay in Barcelona for two days at the Hotel Montblanc as an add-on to the cruise. While there we saw the Sagrada Familia cathedral which was Gaudi's crowning glory, and went to the Monastary at Mont Serrat to see the Black Madonna, then off to Oller de Mas Vineyard and winery for an organic wine tasting and tapas. Truly outstanding. While on this cruise, we dined at three of the specialty restaurants, the main dining room and the Garden buffet. The food was wonderful at all of the venues. The ships staff was,as always, courteous, cheerful and professional. This was our fifth cruise with Norwegian, and it has to have been one of the best. Would definitely do this one again! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Some of the restaurant team members, including supervisors at Taste restaurant were very rude and unprofessional. Menu stayed the same for 6 days, except the last day on board. Bathroom always smelled urine even just after room was ... Read More
Some of the restaurant team members, including supervisors at Taste restaurant were very rude and unprofessional. Menu stayed the same for 6 days, except the last day on board. Bathroom always smelled urine even just after room was cleaned. Pools are small, dirty and always overcowed. Poor entertainment programs. Port and shore excursions were overpriced, not many options. There were very few photographers, poor potrait photography sessions and or setting. Pictures came out plain and borring. Very friendly and good services by room steward, his name: August. Friendly and good services at The Garden buffet restaurant. Good selections of food, drinks and fruits. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Overall, this cruise was not worth our time and money. Kids did not like it. Adults were very disappointed about the food, entertainments, port and shore excursions and the overall services. We will not recommend this cruise to any of our friends and or families. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
My family and I choose this cruise because we want to try a different cruise line plus we want to do the free style cruising and the Mediterranean was on our bucket list and boy we where super excited.. We flew into Barcelona two days ... Read More
My family and I choose this cruise because we want to try a different cruise line plus we want to do the free style cruising and the Mediterranean was on our bucket list and boy we where super excited.. We flew into Barcelona two days earlier to explore the city and it didn’t disappoint us , the food , the people and the tours was amazing . Embarkation and Disembarkation was super smooth but getting to our room was a little confusing . Entering the hallway towards our room it smell like wet carpet or Sewage and I mean it smell like that every day . After entering our room it was ok nothing to be crazy about the bed had long hairs underneath the covers and mirrors look like it hasn’t been clean for weeks , there where dust on the furniture so we had to call for them to come back to Re-clean the room , but the view from our balcony on the 14deck was amazing . I have been in the customer service business for over 25 years and a few of the staff at the front deck , the way they talking to customer was super unprofessional and disrespectful and you do not talk to guests like you are annoying or mad at them because they have question or a problem that’s why you’re their to help ok and if you don’t like your job quit . The guys at the pool bar was on point especially Michael he was amazing he remember my name and what my wife and I drink all the time . So my wife and I Celebrate our 16 years Wedding Anniversary and it was her birthday also so we when for dinner at La Bistro the food and the wine was amazing and our sever (April) was fantastic she was attentive and always Smiling. The entertainment on the boat was ok . The Magic show was a little lame . My son he’s 15 and he didn’t even wanna go back to the teens club because he said it was lame and boring . Breakfast suck because everyday it’s the lame things over and over . The port of call was amazing except Naples , it was dirty and smelly and the people are super rude . If i end up back in Naples I would rather stay on the boat or take a trip down to Pompeii . Rome was one of our favorite stop because of the rich history and I advise anyone who wants to take a tour of the Colosseum you will need to book a tour guide if not you will be there all day in the long lines . Overall we had fun on all of our excursion but be advice wear some comfortable walking shoes.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have cruised on Norwegian 2 other times. We love the packages that are included. We did the Cruise next program too. While most of the staff on this ship were fabulous, we did encounter more than we ever have before of staff ... Read More
We have cruised on Norwegian 2 other times. We love the packages that are included. We did the Cruise next program too. While most of the staff on this ship were fabulous, we did encounter more than we ever have before of staff that were not friendly and some that were down right rude. My husband and I like to enjoy the casino at night. Now we are realistic, we know we are eventually going to lose, but as long as we have fun and can play for awhile, we don't mind. Part of that experience is a fun staff of dealers. Well not on this ship. Except for a couple of dealers, the majority on this ship were terrible; they seemed bored or annoyed. No conversation, no playing around and one man was so rude my husband reported him. He ruined our last night. They really need to do some training with that group. While we were not super fans of the buffet, we loved the specialty restaurants. Le Bistro was perfection. Only flaw is the bowling alley is right over the restaurant. Dumb design. The staff gets an A+. Also kudos to the Spa staff and facilities. Loved it. Yes, it is pricey, but you expect it. Did NOT like getting up at the crack of dawn for excursions, but that can't be helped as most of the places to visit require a long bus ride to get there. Honestly, book them online - the prices are much better than on the ship. Would we go with Norwegian again, probably but not this ship. Several areas needed a new paint job. Again, loved our cabin but not the casino staff!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the departure and destination ports, a real chance to see some sights we hadn’t seen before. We bought 7 specialty dining options pre-departure and boy were they worth the money. Over the course of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the departure and destination ports, a real chance to see some sights we hadn’t seen before. We bought 7 specialty dining options pre-departure and boy were they worth the money. Over the course of the cruise we ate in La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagneys, Tepenyaki and Moderno which were all really nice. The only issue I had was that on one of the evenings we dined in cagneys (we visited twice) it all seemed a little rushed. No sooner had we finished starters, our main was there followed by us being hassled for desserts and did we want the check. The food was amazing but this tainted our evening a little. Entertainment was great on the ship. We visited epic theatre to watch Pricilla Queen of the desert and Burn the Floor. Both shows were great with humour and great dancing! Norwegian really do well with their entertainment. The casino was a good size with plenty of machines and games available, but what I don’t like is the $200 minimum to open an account and hit the tables. When we sailed on RCCL Jewel of the Seas, this wasn’t a policy and seemed to encourage more people to play. Norwegian, if your reading this is may be worth reconsidering! The pool areas were a great size and sun bed availability never an issue, but this is where the ship needs a little TLC. Some areas where a little tatty and could do with a touch up in order to make them feel a little more premium. So overall we had a great cruise experience. The food, entertainment, cabin amenities and general layout all big plus points for NCL Epic. The let downs compared to the smaller NCL Star were the Cabin size and the personal touch from some of the staff. Overall I really enjoyed this cruise but I would encourage NCL to have a little refresh of some of the areas onboard just to make her feel a little more up to date Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Going to complete in bullet form Gym - excellent - do not pay the 59 dollars for the gym pass not worth it - I thought it would be more cost effective with the classes offered - a fight club class was 35 mins and cost 25 dollars which ... Read More
Going to complete in bullet form Gym - excellent - do not pay the 59 dollars for the gym pass not worth it - I thought it would be more cost effective with the classes offered - a fight club class was 35 mins and cost 25 dollars which was a rip off - also if u wanted to get up aand do something at 7am and then nothing offered to 5pm then great. I do not sit in the sun so would have liked a class at 11am or one mid afternoon SPA - v expensive - why would you pay 129 us dollars for a 50 mins massage - when you pay £25 UK pounds for the same thing!! - it does not make sense I know I my on holidays but not to be ripped off - it must work for them I am guessing - I would have used the SPA if the prices were more sensible - I think it would attract more people if it was cheaper Food was good and staff were always very friendly The Beatles show was excellent and so was Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The entertainment generally was off a high standard. Would recommend this cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Epic Family Cruise on the Med This was a three generation family cruise undertaken to celebrate our two milestone birth anniversaries – my 75th and my wife’s 70th birthdays that occurred earlier in the year. Happily it also ... Read More
Epic Family Cruise on the Med This was a three generation family cruise undertaken to celebrate our two milestone birth anniversaries – my 75th and my wife’s 70th birthdays that occurred earlier in the year. Happily it also coincided with the pending 50th birthday of our daughter-in-law, so we actually had three reasons to celebrate during the cruise. It also provided us the opportunity to introduce our family to the wonderful world of cruising, so we especially wanted an experience that would be meaningful and enjoyable for our two children, their spouses and our four grandchildren aged 12 through to 18. We had certain limitations in selecting an appropriate cruise. It firstly had to synchronise with school and university holidays giving us a window of only the first ten days or so of July. Secondly, we wanted our family to have an inclusive cruising experience with pre-paid gratuities, speciality dining and beverage packages. Thirdly, it was important that each family unit of four had inter-leading balcony cabins, and finally, we hoped for an itinerary that would introduce first-time cruisers to a number of iconic destinations in the Mediterranean. And all of this at an affordable cost! The scheduled Norwegian Epic cruise from 03 to 10 July of the Western Mediterranean was the only one that ticked all the boxes so we took the plunge and booked with NCL. We did so with some trepidation, primarily because of the size of this mega ship knowing that at the height of the holiday season the ship would be filled to capacity and we were especially concerned about the crowds and inevitable queues at restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and when embarking and disembarking over 4800 passengers at each port of call. But more so, we were worried about the negative reviews we had read on Cruise Critic about the Epic. Our concerns were unfounded and the Epic exceeded our expectations at virtually all levels. Sure, there are a number of (in the greater scheme of things minor) matters one may take issue with but, in our view as relatively experienced cruisers having taken some twenty cruises over the past fifteen or so years with primarily five star cruise companies, the Norwegian Epic offers a far better cruise experience than one would be led to believe when reading some comments on the web. Let’s get our main negative out of the way before proceeding with the review. NCL has a reputation for “nickel and diming” and we believe this is due to their strange practice of not fully disclosing the price of products on sale up front. Whatever one purchases is also subject to an undisclosed tax so one always ends up paying more for a product or service than the prominently published price. A case in point is their cost (ridiculously high in any event) of bottled water which passengers are forced to purchase on board as NCL will not allow bottled water purchased on shore to be brought on board. We purchased a package of 24 one litre bottles at a published cost of $44 only to find that the actual amount charged to our account was $58 – a premium of 32%! The additional costs were a 20% service gratuity and the balance a sales tax. We cannot understand why one has to pay a service gratuity and additional sales tax for purchasing a bottle of water but, if that is NCL’s policy, we believe the company should be upfront with its pricing and not mislead passengers with its non-inclusive pricing policy (applicable to all goods and services). We lodged a complaint about the cost of the bottled water package with Guest Relations but did not get any response whatsoever to our query. The only other minor issue we had was with the high cost of shuttle bus services offered by NCL. Being a mega ship, ships the size of the Epic more often than not, have to berth some distance from the places of interest in the ports visited. Using some form of transportation to get downtown is therefore pretty much a necessity and in such circumstances we believe the ship company should at worst, provided such a shuttle service at cost and not make an additional profit from their passengers. Often if one was prepared to walk 500 meters or so, one could get much cheaper transport from taxis, on-shore tour operators or even public transport. Enough of the negative rants! Much more productive to focus on the positives of the cruise. As already mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised by our Epic experience. Some random observations include: The ship: Clean and well maintained throughout, the Epic is a beautiful mega ship even though it is showing notable signs of wear and tear. We were impressed with the layout of many dining options available on the ship and even though the ship was fully booked, we seldom got the sense of being over crowded. The Epic is a fun boat with the focus on entertainment and activities. Consequently, there are virtually no areas where one can just sit and relax. There is a constant buzz going on, but it would still be nice to find a quiet lounge area where one could just relax and read a book. Initially, the layout and configuration of the vessel can be confusing but once one understands that everything really happens on either the pool deck or on decks 5 and 6 where most of the dining options, theatre, bars, entertainment venues and casino are located, it becomes relatively easy to find ones way around the boat. Elevators are only located at the two ends of the ship making it almost mandatory to walk through the entertainment decks to get anywhere. Unfortunately this means that one cannot escape the smoke ridden casino to access certain venues! NCL should seriously reconsider its practice of permitting smoking in the casino – a practice that has been banned in every other cruise line ship we have sailed. Staterooms: We booked two sets of inter-leading balcony cabins to accommodate each family unit and a mini suite for ourselves. All accommodations were more than adequate with plenty of storage space. The mini suite is slightly larger than the standard balcony cabin but has the same layout – including the strange shower and toilet configuration which takes some getting used to. We understand that this bathroom layout has never been re-emulated on any other NCL ship and will be changed when the Epic undergoes a major refurbishment in the next year or so. Dining: The Epic has multiple dining options. Given the size of the ship, it is advisable to pre book one’s preferred dining venue for dinners especially if one likes to dine during peak hours. Our travel consultant had arranged to pre book dinners for our entire party of ten for each night of the cruise at a selected range of included and speciality dining venues. This helped immeasurably as we never had to queue or wait for a table at any of the selected venues. Food, in terms of both quality and presentation was invariably of a good to excellent standard. The buffet Garden Café was our chosen venue for most breakfasts and lunches. We found the quality and range of options to be surprisingly good for a buffet and would rank the Epic’s buffet restaurant as one of the best we have yet experienced on a cruise line. We had a table served breakfast on two occasions in the Trellis restaurant and, again, were more than satisfied with the fare on offer. For dinners we experimented with a range of venues. We dined at both of the included restaurants (Trellis and Manhattan) which both offer the same menu each evening. The Trellis is a more casual venue while the Manhattan offers a more upmarket experience. Both are well laid out and furnished with attentive service. We found the food to be good and attractively presented. Where the Epic shines is in the variety and quality of its speciality dining options. We experienced three and they all met or exceeded our expectations. As mentioned, we were celebrating three milestone birth anniversaries on this cruise so we chose to celebrate a different birthday at each of the speciality restaurants we selected. At two of these, the Le Bistro and La Cucina, we were even surprised with special birthday cakes delivered to the table even though we had only indicated we were celebrating a milestone birthday once we were seated at our table. A nice, unexpected touch! Food at the French Le Bistro restaurant was exceptional – typically small potions, but beautifully presented and delicious all round. Teppanyaki, the Japanese inspired restaurant was a really fun experience. The delightfully humorous Chef kept us all in fits of laughter as he cooked and served food of surprisingly high quality. We also could not find fault with the service and food quality at the Italian La Cucina restaurant . Our experience at all three speciality restaurants we dined at more than met our expectations. The only marginally disappointing dining experiences were in the Shanghai noodle restaurant and at O’Sheehans Pub where we found the fare to be unappetizing and bland. However, the younger members of the family enjoyed the pub food at O’Sheehans especially the chicken wings and fajitas! Entertainment: A wide range of entertainment options are offered – there is something going on all the time so one can never be bored! The main theatre show “Priscilla of the Desert” was exceptional, equivalent in standard to anything we have previously experienced on board a cruise ship, or even on Broadway or the West End for that matter. None of our party enjoyed the other main theatre production “Burn the Floor”, a sentiment obviously shared by many other passengers as the venue was less than half full even though this show has to be pre-booked. We found it repetitive and frankly boring. On the other hand the nightly “Howl at the Moon” productions in the Headliners Comedy Club were great fun with plenty of good, noisy music and repartee between two dueling pianists. The Beatles Cavern Club show was a bit disappointing but perhaps this was due to the small venue being so overcrowded on the night we attended the show. In addition to the more formal productions, two exceptionally talented singer/pianists entertained passengers at a variety of venues each evening. Good sing along music and good fun. We thought Roberto, the Cruise Director, to be one of the best we have yet had over our years of cruising. Efficient, engaging, informative and understated, sans all the false over the top bonhomie one generally finds with Cruise Directors on cruise ships Bars: There are so many bars situated throughout the ship that one is never in danger of becoming thirsty! We had a beverage package as an included amenity on our booking. This is a virtual necessity on the Epic as the price of liquor is exorbitant and otherwise would be a major dampener for those of us who are inclined to enjoy the occasional tipple or two! Our favoured venue was the Shakers cocktail bar where we can attest they can fix a mean martini! The whole family unit of ten participated in the Ice Bar experience. It was fun but ridiculously overpriced at $20 per person plus tax even though two cocktails are thrown in as part of the deal. Anoraks and gloves are provided but, on reflection, it really is quite masochistic to pay good money to stand in a fridge for an hour! Service: Along with our general experiences with other cruise lines, we found the standard of service on the Epic from staff at all levels (stateroom attendants, waiters, barmen etc.), to be excellent, always available to provide attentive service with a smile. It was evident also that most staff appeared to be proud to be employed by NCL so the company must be doing something right in its employment and training processes. Itinerary: One of the reasons we chose this cruise was to give or family, who had not cruise before, the opportunity of visiting some of the iconic ports of the Western Mediterranean. As we had been to most places on a few occasions beforehand, we did our own thing in all the ports except Palma Mallorca, allowing the rest of the family to explore the ports and adjacent locales unencumbered by their ageing parents! They pre-booked private tours of Pisa/Florence and of Naples/Pompei/Sorrento/Amalfi Coast and explored other destinations on their own. They were more than happy with their experiences and would recommend the private tour option which ends up much cheaper than the equivalent ship excursions and also allows for more flexibility and the option to custom design the experience should one so wish. Our primary objective with this cruise was to give our children and grandchildren a taste of the joys of cruising that we have been privileged to enjoy for so many years. After all the less than complimentary reviews we had read about what to expect on the Epic, we were truly concerned that their experiences on the ship would not be all we wished for. We need not have worried! Did they enjoy the cruise? Hell yeah! So mission accomplished. Indeed, we think we may just have produced another two generations of cruise aficionados!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the ... Read More
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the cruise a bit more expensive but well worth the cost. The Epic is a large ship staffed with a great crew that always seemed committed to offering gracious and friendly service. Traveling with a friend, we were able to book and hold a handicap-equipped cabin which gave us a bit more floor space as well as the balcony which was great. The only down side was that the door to the combined restroom/shower was broken so we had to make due with a curtain hung by velcro -- not exactly the best privacy set up but we were advised that the repair was planned for shortly after our trip. Pro's: Amazing fitness center and Spa -- we opted for the daily spa access and took advantage of both the workout area and jacuzzi every day. The food was always good and because of the variety offered, even the most picky eaters will find ample options. The kids on board seemed to really love the pizza and I agree -- it's very good! The water flume rides are fun and the wait times were reasonable. The entertainment was also top notch. Con's: Very few issues to mention but here are a couple: the ice machines in the restaurants were overwhelmed at times and sometimes the crew could not keep up with the demand for clean cups. The piped in relaxation music in the spa is just one short tune played over and over. They really need to add more relaxing music because the monotonous one song detracts from the calming experience. While the public restrooms were kept clean, there were some metal support pieces in the toilet stalls that seem dingy and need to be polished. I also noticed that some painted surfaces outside the dining room windows that were showing rust. Lastly, the swimming pools themselves are very small for such a large ship. The water in the pools was also very warm and not refreshing. The ports of call on this trip were interesting and the excursion options were plentiful. To be able to visit three countries in 7 days and only unpack once is definitely a great reason to cruise and overall the NCL Epic was a fantastic vessel for my summer vacation! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed in early July with our two teenagers, ages 14 and 18. We had a spectacular vacation! We stayed in the Haven, which gave the four of us all the space and privacy we needed and then some. We flew into Rome two days early. ... Read More
We sailed in early July with our two teenagers, ages 14 and 18. We had a spectacular vacation! We stayed in the Haven, which gave the four of us all the space and privacy we needed and then some. We flew into Rome two days early. There's a quick train from Rome to the port city of Civitavecchia. We had no trouble getting around and made it to the ship in plenty of time. Civitavecchia has many restaurants and gelato places close by to stop at before boarding. Embarkation was a breeze. If you can swing the Haven, it's absolutely the way to go. Our room had two private bedrooms, a spacious living area, and two full bathrooms. The main bathroom shower had room for a small village of people! There was plenty of storage space and the niceties like robes and slippers and upgraded toiletries. The Haven comes with a butler and he was wonderful. He brought us snacks each afternoon and also handles room service if you desire. Our room was equipped with an espresso machine and a minibar. The Haven also has it's own restaurant and cocktail lounge; both are outstanding as well as its own small pool and jacuzzi. Our cabin was 16003 which is a forward cabin. Our bathroom had floor to ceiling windows in the showers (with shades for when you're actually showering) and provide a gorgeous view out the front of the ship. We had the same view as the bridge, which was kind of neat. Dining is "freestyle", so you decide where and when you want to eat. There is the usual cruise buffet, as well as two more formal dining rooms. Buffets are not my thing, but as far as they go, this one had plenty of options including Indian food, hamburgers/hot dogs, and themed hot entrees and was a nice break for my younger teen who just wanted to eat in his swimsuit and be done with it. The other two dining rooms, Taste and Manhattan were both top notch with typical cruise fares - starter, meat/fish, starch, veggies, and dessert. The wine lists were extensive and reasonably priced. There is also a pub which services quick burgers, sandwiches, and the like which has extended hours. The pub also had pool tables and other arcade games. You can also do specialty dining - some is an extra charge, some is included, but all need reservations to assure your spot. They included a French restaurant, teppanyaki, noodle bar, and a traditional American steakhouse. The French restaurant, Le Bistro, requires (no exceptions) long pants for everyone over 12. My one son ate dinner in his pajama pants, which was not a problem for the maitre'd. All the other restaurants are generally relaxed on dress code - some people were all dressed up and others were in shorts and tshirts. There is also a coffee bar to get espressos and blended coffee drinks for an additional charge. Definitely get the beverage package so you don't have to think about it. The ship will serve your 18 year old beer and wine if they have your permission. In port, people offered our 18 year old booze consistently. Not a problem for us, but be mindful if this is a concern for you. In fact, in Rome, they served our 14 year old lemoncello. He was not a fan..... We loved the live music; there's a Beatles tribute band, a sing along Elton John show, and themed shows featuring music of Stevie Wonder and others. We didn't attend either of the two main shows which require reservations - we just didn't get to it and our kids weren't super interested in either. They also have a dueling piano show - it was very popular. Not our favorite, but just a matter of personal taste. During the "at sea" day, they had an "escape room" type activity which we really enjoyed as a family. The main lounge midship, The Atrium, often had games like "Deal or No Deal" and bingo for an additional charge. We aren't gamblers, but the casino was hopping and seemed very popular. Smoking is allowed there, and there is an actual cigar lounge/smoking lounge as well. There is a three lane bowling alley, along with the pool, water slides, rock climbing wall, and sport court. Our 14 year old went to the teen club, which he mostly enjoyed. There are a lot of organized activities, and he was hoping for more "free play" time where he could come and hang out and play video games. That said, he enjoyed the activities (trivia, charades, game shows) that he participated in. It was kind of a bummer that our (newly) 18 year old couldn't participate with his brother there, but we get it. Since we embarked in Civitavecchia, our ports were Florence (Livorno), Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Day at Sea, Naples, and then back to Civitavecchia. I actually think this itinerary lay out is better than boarding in Barcelona. Florence is a slog - it's quite a distance from the port - maybe 90 minutes - so after that and then rapid fire action, we were grateful for the day at sea. I wouldn't have wanted to have that right on the front end of the cruise. In Livorno, we did Pisa/Florence "on your own" which basically provides transportation and then some tour information but mostly you just explore. It was ridiculously hot and there is a lot of walking from the bus to the actual sites, so be prepared. Pisa was magnificent and I'm so glad we didn't skip it. Florence was super crowded and oppressively hot. Pace yourself! In Cannes, we needed an easy day after Florence, so we took the tender from the boat and just wandered through downtown. You can do tours to Monaco or Monte Carlo, but we found a place along the waterfront for lunch, explored the streets, had french desserts, and headed back to the ship. The tender process is easy, but you do need reservations if you want to get an early start. Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona were our two favorite days and we are already talking about a separate trip to Spain. We went on foot both days and found outstanding tapas restaurants in both. Mallorca was wonderful just to explore and walk around the city. In Barcelona, we went to the Pablo Picasso museum and then went to the arch and Citadel Park. There were some great tours, but we had made reservations for the museum and had to work around that. Sundays are free at the museum, but you have to make reservations ahead. In Naples, we struggled because there were so many choices; Sorrento, Amalfi coast, Capri, and Pompeii. We ended up walking into Naples which is right at the port and found a tiny little pizza restaurant and had a pizza we're still talking about. We took the cruise's tour to Pompeii in the afternoon; they have two, "Pompeii excavations" and "Pompeii on your own". I highly recommend excavations. Pompeii is a huge area and is a maze. We really benefited from having someone to walk us around inside and show us the highlights. If we had gone by ourselves, we might still be finding our way out. Debarkation, although EARLY, was a breeze. We walked right off without problem and collected our bags at the port. There is a free bus that will take you from the ship to the entry to the port. From there, you can take a bus for 2 Euro to the train station in Civitavecchia. There is an express train that will get you into the main terminal in Rome in about 45 minutes. We spent three more days in Rome after the cruise before heading home. After 14 days, we were ready to get back, but it was an absolutely wonderful trip. We will sail Norwegian again and would absolutely go on the Epic again. Bon voyage! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I sailed on three NCL ships including this one with family. The last time I went was about 4 years ago and my experience was amazing. The food was amazing, the entertainment was fun. It was just a great time. and I emphasize again how ... Read More
I sailed on three NCL ships including this one with family. The last time I went was about 4 years ago and my experience was amazing. The food was amazing, the entertainment was fun. It was just a great time. and I emphasize again how amazing the food was. This time I felt like, to get anything of reasonable quality, I had to empty my pockets. I will take you through my journey. Lets start with the good: Crew is very nice, and the service is excellent. The ship is huge and doesn't feel too overcrowded. Cabin was comfortable and well taken care of. Good bed, nice shower/bathroom set up. Now the bad: I tried every free restaurant and the buffet. The only good one was O'Sheehans. Everything else was completely sub par. As the days progressed I felt hunger leaving my body as I walked through the buffet. I decided to try 'Manhattan' diner. My steak was cooked as I requested - medium. yet I felt I was chewing on beef jerky. My girlfriend ordered chicken. It tasted like water. The next day we tried 'Taste' diner. Guess what.... Taste diner has the same exact menu as Manhattan diner. I asked whats the difference, they said "In manhattan diner you have to wear long pants, here you can wear shorts." On the last day I saw where my scrambled eggs were coming from. Those were the only edible things and it was coming from a frozen milk carton. I gagged and lost my appetite - Fresh fruit it is! I was not going to spend $39 at their 'premium' restaurants. They lost my trust. Internet costs $1 per minute if you don't get a deal, and about $3 to activate... its' download speed is about 1mb. Saw a guy tearing his hair out because he just couldn't do what he needed but the money was being sucked from his account. So you pay $800 to go on a cruise. You pay $240 extra for service. You pay $5 - 15 for the bus to take you from the ship to another transportation system. And you still can't get decent food. When they say 'chocolate mousse" or 'strawberry mousse', they don't really know what mousse means. They are jello cakes. pizza - tasteless burgers - burned meat patties water - fresh from the toilet The pools are TINY. about the size of your small cabin. The "Washy washy happy happy" Got old FAST. I felt like I had to cough up cash to have a good sneeze. Soon they will charge premium for breathable air. Shanghai noodle bar - overcooked chicken (as usual on this ship). Ordered noodles with chicken and shrimp. I received exactly two tiny shrimps and exactly 2 tiny pieces of chicken - tasted good though. and the 5 spice chocolate cake is decent. $4 for bottled water - lol. Entertainment - comedian was alright. Deal or no deal was fun to watch. But of course you have to pay to even have a slim chance to participate. Enrichment activities... where? Soccer tournament - got to play for 8 minutes. k. Shore excursions... lol $300 per person. The locals were nicer to us about excursions than the cruiseline. They wanted $60 per person to drive us to the airport. Locals did it for $20. Spent a total of $1850 to eat eggs out of a milk carton for 7 days. You really lost your touch, NCL. 3rd trip, and you've now lost me and my family forever. Wish I could get my money and time back. PS: I should have taken the photo of the boxed eggs but I was too nauseated. Read Less
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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