EMBARKATION: Embarkation was Barcelona. We arrived 2 days before and spent the time exploring Barcelona; its a magnificent city and certainly worth the time!
Embarkation itself was simple and quick. We were on the ship by 1230 and in our rooms by 2pm - very impressive! Even more so was when the bags turned up 30 minutes later! For the review of the rooms see below.
EPIC: The ship itself is huge (obviously given its grand name and sheer occupancy levels). This was my 5th cruise with NCL and I am no stranger to huge quantities of people, but it was somewhat more apparent on this ship due to the lack and size of communal spaces. The aim of the ship appeared to be to get as many rooms in as possible (hence the wavy walls) and therefore more guests (so more revenue), but this came at a cost to places such as the atrium areas and theatre which were smaller by comparison.
Truly amazing cabin! This is a balcony cabin at the front of the ship. It is near the front lifts and therefore with easy access to the theatre (front deck 6) and the garden café (front deck 15). The room had what I considered the best layout. These rooms are unique as many have said before due to the wavy walls and the location of the bathroom, neither of which caused any concern to us! In fact they were positives!
You come in to the toilet on the left and the shower on the right; both of which are a good size and don't feel at all claustrophobic. After the shower on the right wall is the sink - this is perhaps the only negative as the sink is quite small and shallow and the tap is fixed so you couldn't wet your hair for example (?!) The rest of the wall has the wardrobes, drawers, tea/coffee maker and TV. On the left is a sofa which follows the curve of the wall. The sofa is also the 3rd bed. After this is the bed. I did a lot of research on the rooms and felt this layout was the best (sofa then bed) as it gives you more leg room as you walk in the room and has a better flow towards the balcony! I did even more research on the balconies as I had heard about some being overlooked. This section of deck 9 is inset to the rooms below on deck 8 so its set back and is not overlooked, which was precisely what I wanted. The balconies are of course amazing! We spent many late nights watching the stars with a cup of hot chocolate (in true cosmopolitan fashion!) There's a variety of lighting options and the bed is incredibly comfortable offering the best night's sleep ever!
Barcelona is a beautiful city. We have been before and took the Big Red Bus routes which allow you to see all the main tourist traps. This trip though we went on the metro which was far cheaper and really easy to navigate. We had one full day in Barcelona and brought a 10 trip ticket and that was more than enough and for less than 10 euros it was well worth it. There is a transfer bus at the bottom of the ramblers which takes you to the ship for 2 euros.
Most people go to Rome from here which makes for a long day trip, but as we had seen it before we decided to walk around the town. There is a free shuttle bus out of the port which takes about 5 minutes then you are free to look around! Well worth a wander! There are some lovely views from the promenade and plenty of places to get a bite or a drink.
We didn't do a trip here, but instead chose to travel around on our own. You need a tender to get from ship to land and you have to book these. Again you can do this through the TV, but it isn't available to book until two days before you arrive. Book early if you want to get off early to avoid disappointment. You are taken to the town and can easily walk around taking in some beautiful sights. This is helped by the map you are given at Tourist Information as you arrive in the port. We went up to the museum, then back down to the main shopping area, round the to the beaches and walked along the promenade back to the ship. There is a beach just next to the port for those wishing to paddle! Certainly the most beautiful port.