An Epic Holiday: Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by SEB81

Norwegian Epic 5
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An Epic Holiday

Sail Date: June 2012
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Other
Sailed the Norwegian Epic out of Civvatevechia on June 6, 2012. Prior to the cruise, we spent two days in Milan and a day in Rome to be able to see the Papal Audience on Wednesday, which was important to us. With that said, we didn't arrive at the ship until 5:00 p.m. It was completely deserted. As another review stated, there are not may people that get on the ship from this port. It was almost erie though because you're thinking there are 4000 guests, but you don't see any of them... Embarkation was very easy because of this and our bags beat us to the room. Because we got on mid-cruise compared to most everyone else, they didn't have tours or port talks or other first day festivities (no muster drill either).

Our room was a family suite and it was very nice for us. Our room steward was Garry and he was exceptional. Because we were in a suite, we had access to the Haven area, which was very nice. The Posh area outside was great because you didn't have to hunt down More a lounge chair and they had nice cushions on them. Also, because we were guests in the Haven, there was a private concierge that was there to assist us with any excursions, entertainment and dinner reservations. Prior to the cruise I had made dinner and entertainment reservations because I thought we might have a problem getting into the places that we wanted to eat at. I would recommend taking care of this when you arrive on the ship. We had pre-paid for the reservations that I made pre-cruise and because we changed some of them, they had to be refunded and recharged. And some of them didn't even show up in their system. They claimed it was because we got on mid-cruise.... It was a bit confusing. I think it all worked out in the end, but I would recommend to just wait to make the reservations until you get on board.

We ate at LeBistro (our favorite), Cagney's, La Cucina, Shanghai's, and the Epic Restaurant for Haven guests twice. We went to the 'lobster night' at the Epic Restaurant and it was a disappointment. Very small and the fish they served with it was not edible... We also had lunch on the day at sea at O'Sheehan's. It was very good for typical pub food. For breakfast, we went to the Epic Restaurant, where you could get a quick breakfast but ordering from the menu. We never ate at the buffet.

The entertainment was good. You have to have a reservation for all the entertainment. You're not able to just walk into a show like on other cruise ships, so do keep that in mind. The Cirque Dreams show is a 'must see'. It was a great show. We had the best seats because we were Haven guests. It came with dinner - steak and shrimp, which was good. We also saw Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert and the Beatles Tribute band, which were all very good.

I arranged private tours for all the ports, so we did not use any of NCL's Big Bus Tours. See port reviews.

Disembarkation was very easy. Again, likely because not many people got off the ship in Rome. Spent two nights in Rome on our own before heading back to the States.

A wonderful vacation. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's an epic adventure! Less

Published 06/19/12
Helpful? Thank SEB81

Cabin review: H417014 Courtyard Villa with Balcony

Great Room - 2 bedrooms, living space, 2 bathrooms and balcony. Lots of space to store your belongings. Quiet room in the Haven area.

Read All Courtyard Villa with Balcony (H4) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

For Barcelona, we used Pepito Tours. This was the only tour we took that had a separate driver and guide. This tour was a little more expensive than the others because of this, but it was necessary to have a driver in this city. We were able to stop and view 2 of Gaudi's buildings for pictures. Then we went to Park Guell, this was awesome. We sat on the longest bench in the world! We also went to Sagrada Familia Church - beautiful! And to think there are at least 30 more years of work to be completed. I've been in a lot of churches, but none quite like this one. We also went to Montserrat, a monastery where about 80 monks live up in the mountains. This is a must see in my opinion. If you go, you must get a loaf of the sweet bread, they call coque. It is wonderful.
Read 1729 Barcelona Reviews

In Cannes, you have to tender to the shore, so please keep that in mind. This is the only port that you have to tender in. Our tour guide was Cecile from Cecile Tours. She did a great job. First, we had a photo stop on the red carpet, where the famous film festival takes place each year. Then we headed to Nice for a tour of the city and some free time. We ended in St Paul, a lovely old town, where we had lunch.
Read 360 Cannes Reviews

We used Limo in Rome for this excursion. First we went to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. We wanted to climb to the top and had been instructed to get tickets in advance for 9:00. When I tried to do this, they were 'sold out'. However, when we arrived, there were not too many people there and we were able to walk right up and get tickets to climb the tower. Our guide had given us 45 minutes free time, which was more than enough to climb the tower and get those great photos pushing the tower back up. The climb is definitely for the able bodied, because it can be a little difficult to climb the steps that are leaning. After that, we went to Florence for a city tour and then to see the famous David statue and tour the Academia museum and then some more free time to go to the Ponte Vecchio. Ate lunch at a local restaurant in Florence and it was the best restaurant we ate at the entire trip. Yum.

For Marseille, we used Tour Designer in Provence. We didn't spend any time in Marseille and honestly, I'm not sure what there would be to do here, except maybe tour a church. Didn't look very nice... We went to the fishing village of Cassis in the morning, which was very picturesque and in the afternoon, we were in Aix en Provence, where we had a walking tour and some free time for lunch and exploring. Another good day.

For this port we used Marcello Maresca and Associate and did a tour of the beautiful Amalfi Coast. We visited Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. We also had an Italian Organic Food Experience in a quant little village. The food was wonderful, just too much of it! When we finished, we took a walk through the little town, so I feel like we got to see how the 'real people' live, which was quite nice. Most people went to Capri and Pompei on their tours, but we had already seen that and didn't feel the need to go back.
Read 1162 Naples Reviews

Rome is Rome, what can you say.... When we got off the ship, we took a tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's --- must see sights while in Rome. We used Through Eternity for our tours in Rome. Please remember the drive into Rome takes about an hour and a half (took us two and a half because of traffic and a protest going on in the city), so this is a VERY long day for those guests who are returning to the ship. The next day we went to Tivoli - where we visited Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este. Both were very interesting. Then it's time for the long flight back to the states. Love vacations like this, but it's also good to be home too.

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