Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Emma
- Sail Date: June 2012
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We had our 'British Summertime' clothes on...Advice number one, take a change of clothes in your hand luggage in case your room and luggage are not ready. It was not really a hinderance but I felt a bit daft on a sunlounger in what I was wearing.
As soon as we embarked (which was perfectly straight-forward) we were invited to go into the Garden Cafe on Deck 15 for lunch. We stayed up on the deck for an hour or so and decided to venture down to find our cabin. The bags weren't there yet but we made a coffee, checked out the view from the balcony, freshened up etc. then went back on deck for the "sail away party".
I would say on first impressions that the staff mission on that first day is to make you feel relaxed. It took about 90 minutes for me to forget my own name and lay back in the sunshine with a demented look of serenity on my face.
I have seen a few reviews on here condeming the attitude of the staff...we did not find this to be the case at all. Very freindly, outgoing and couldn't do enough to help you. We got the same impression from other passengers we spoke to throughout the trip. If you had a lost look on your face for longer than about 30 seconds you would find someone was there to check you were ok. We also found it easy to ask any member of staff about any aspect of the trip.
We paid for a speciality dinner in a chinese restaurant on our first night, which we thoroughly enjoyed. However, after using in an inclusive dining room the following night we did not spend any more money on food while onboard as they really do make an effort. The supply chain to that ship must be immense! One thing I would say is that the meals were a bit 'meat heavy' and if you like your veg and salad then the buffet style Garden Cafe has plenty to offer. I also found the seafood incredibly fresh.
I think it is a compliment to the EPIC that some people get so critical about the food. This is probably just because I have never cruised before, but at the end of the day you are on a boat...not in the middle of New York. Its amazing they can even offer you steak, lamb shanks, smoked salmon... and it was all cooked perfectly well considering the volume. Far better than most banquet style menus I've had in the past. It is easy to forget that it is a bulk dining hall, and not judge it against a la carte dining.
We paid for our cabin steward tips up front, and only paid the mandatory gratuities on drinks. Being British we thought the prices for alcohol were a bit steep at first, but these aren't our 'pub measures' and you get a lot for your money, especially with the cocktails.
The waiters in the main dining rooms were excellent. We did have one meal where we were not offered the wine list and the service was less attentive, but I would put that down to having gone to eat early, there being a lot of families and larger groups in. It was actually quite nice in its own way to be left to it a little bit.
O'Sheehans is a different sort of place to eat altogether. It has a pub atmosphere and is open 24-7, so if you have been up late and need to grab something it is easy, although we found the standard of the food there to be lower than elsewhere on the ship...but I really don't think thats what its there for, if you see what I mean.
The 'Day at Sea' was the busiest onboard, but we were still able to please ourselves. I have a leg injury so couldn't go into port every day. On days like that the deck was quieter. It made sense to us to stay on board a couple of the days, not least of all because taking an excursion would have been nearly as expensive for us as having a 2-3 day weekend city break there from the UK.
The Entertainment was fantastic from start to finish. Richard, the Cruise Director, is a real credit to the Ship. I don't know when that man sleeps!
We were travelling as a couple and it was quite busy with families...which I loved! Not least of all because the onboard entertainment for kids was so good (I have to admit we got a little jealous that we weren't still 8 years old). We managed to seek out the adult version of this in the Bliss nightclub after 11pm though. So funny :o)
We had an absolutely fantastic time. Early on in the trip it is wise to explore the menu section of your stateroom TV. There is so much information on there that is done in an entertaining way, along with an Account Review screen so you can easily keep tabs on your spending.
I think this is a 'cruise for everyone' type thing. It does have a lively atmosphere. Although we always managed to find tranquility when we wanted it.
80% of the people I know would go crazy for this cruise. The other 20% wouldn't book it because it would obviously not be for them. I have heard cruise ships be referred to as 'Butlins on the Water', well, imagine that with a big ladel of class poured over it and you'll be somewhere near the EPIC.
From Art Auctions, Seminars, Live musicians, Pianists and guitaists in the bars,Ballet, Blue Men...oh, and 'Headliners' is fantastic! - Leon behind the bar there is a true diamond.
Anyway, I could go on all day. A definate overall thumbs up from me :o)
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
CannesMy Word what a place! For all you Yorkshiremen out there, imagine Whitby, but rich, big and flat with better beaches.View All 408 Cannes Cruise Port Reviews
Such a freindly place and good people. Photo ops a plenty and didn't have to cripple yourself to get around.
I absolutely LOVED the fact that the ship sends you in there on the lifeboats. Felt very Chic :o)
View Cruise Critic's Cannes Cruise Port Review
MarseilleIm putting three down for this and Livorno (no option for Livorno on Port 2) as we didn't leave the ship. Have to say, although our reason for not going ashore was my leg, at no point did I feel I was missing out on anything as I has having such a good holiday on board :o)View All 653 Marseille Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Marseille Cruise Port Review
NaplesAs Ive stated before, we decided not to pay for any excursions, so we were exploring on foot. A lot of people we talked to enjoyed the narrow, bustling streets. My problem was (and its personal to me) that we have streets like that at home and Im a bit hard wired to not walk down them, so I found it difficult to feel safe and relax here.View All 1,232 Naples Cruise Port Reviews
Beautiful buildings though and the excursion to pompei sounds like it was a hit with the others, although I heard a few horror stories about the roads to get out there...
View Cruise Critic's Naples Cruise Port Review
Rome (Civitavecchia)The port is massive so NCL put a complimentary coach service on to get you up closer to the train station in Cittiavecchia (sp?). For 12euros each you can pick up a metro ticket that will get you the 90mins into Rome itself and on the tube system there aswell. I was told that the ship loses passengers by them missing the board-by time a lot in Rome. I can only put this down to people losing themselves in the history of the place...the transport system is perfectly simple and we didn't have a problem.View All 1,883 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
We had a meandering walk to the Colosseum and absolutely loved looking round. The views of Rome from the building are as precious as the views of it.
View Cruise Critic's Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Review