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This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; much larger and more extravagant on the inside. Very detailed, many places to eat, really good layout. We had a few issues on board. For starters, we found out days later that our steward was supposed to come to our room to introduce himself and show us around our room, how everything worked. That never happened. 7 days on the ship and never met him. We also had issues receiving our tickets for our shore excursions. We booked all three of our excursions with Norwegian, and every single time, we had to go downstairs to the excursion desk to get copies of our tickets, as our steward could never bring them to our room on time. We actually never got our tickets for our last excursion. We had to get a pamphlet with the shore excursion meeting times and show up extra early to make sure some staff there could go get our tickets. The first shore excursion we had we got our tickets at the desk, and then the day of the excursion, after we had returned back to the ship, our tickets were waiting for us there. What the point of that was, I have no idea. Really made it frustrating that we didn't have our tickets waiting in our room, ever. Always had to make time to visit the desk, wait in line, and wait for our ticket copies. Another issue we had was with the staff. One night, my friend and I were having a late night snack at O'Sheenan's and some random drunk guy sat out our table trying to hit on us. We got really uncomfortable when he wouldn't leave, so we called over a staff member to get him to escort him away. The staff member got really offended because he thought we had called him over with our middle finger (why anyone would do that, I have no idea), and gave us a lecture on how that was very rude and offensive before we could even ask him to take the man away. Once he had told the guy to leave, he once again scolded us on calling him over with our middle finger. Completely unnecessary. We're two girls, no need for that. Other than that encounter with the staff, everyone else was excellent. We made a lot of friends with staff from different places who worked in different parts of the ship, and it was nice to run into them again days later and have them remember us, our names, and how they had met us. They gave great recommendations and were cool to hang out with. We met some really wonderful people that worked on board. We got an interior cabin room, so no windows. It kind of sucked because we never knew when it was light out or dark out. It really threw us off. Sometimes we would walk up to the deck and be shocked that it was still light out. Our fault, for not spending a little more money on a room with a window. Definitely recommend! It's worth it. Our room was very cramped and small. Often, my friend and I had to walk around each other when we were doing our hair or our makeup, or trying to change our clothes or pack. The layout of the room is a little weird, with the bathroom and shower at the entrance of the room and the sink on the dresser area. Didn't bother us much. You can control the temperature of the room, which was great. There's also American and European outlets in the rooms. Two American, so we had no need for the European ones. Worked out perfectly fine. The bed was always clean and very comfortable to sleep in. Had no problems. Despite us never getting our tickets on time or meeting our steward, he always cleaned our room twice a day, much appreciated. I will say the lighting sucks in there. Too many buttons for lighting in different areas, which is fine, but it was still so dim and dark with all the lights on. Made it very hard to see our makeup accurately. A small thing, but kind of important for us girls! Dining was excellent. We always had dinner at The Manhattan, and hardly ever were we disappointed. I think there was maybe one night where we weren't fans of what we ordered, but they nailed almost everything else. I will say, they can't seem to get dessert right. It always fell short of my expectations. The creme brulee was delicious, definitely try that! Staff was very sweet and always made sure to seat us near a window. They started to recognize us as the girls who wanted dinner with a view, so at one point we didn't even have to ask anymore. They also sat us right next to the dance floor one night when there was a show happening, which was very kind of them. We had the best seats! Buffet was also pretty good, I especially liked the Asian food offered and the salad selection. Only ate there once, on the first day. O'Sheenan's had great breakfast, although I definitely preferred Taste for breakfast. Ate at Taste almost every morning before getting off the ship, and they were always accommodating when we told them we were in a rush because we had to meet for a tour. I have one very strong complaint about pricing on the ship. My friend and I only traveled with carry-on luggage, so we had no room for sunblock or aloe which was much needed after so many days in the sun. We went to the gift shop only to find out that for one regular sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and aloe, it was going to cost us $36!! $18 each for a brand I know very well is sold for around $10 literally anywhere else. What a ripoff. I understand cruises up-charge, but that was ridiculously expensive and we refused to purchase. **Here's a little tip**: Guest Services sells the exact same products for $15 each, only when the gift shop is closed. Get your stuff there. Still expensive, but at least not as bad. They also have tooth paste and tanning oil. Avoid the gift shop at all costs. They do, however, only have a limited amount, so don't wait until the end of the trip to go stock up. Get it early on, or wait until you're at a port that sells sunblock right off the ship. You'll find it for even cheaper, in euros, of course. As far as entertainment and activities go, there wasn't much to do that really interested us. Most of the time, we were exhausted after long days of walking at the port stops, so we simply had dinner and went to bed. We really did enjoy Burn the Floor, excellent show if you appreciate dancing. Book your reservation for that early, don't wait until you're on the ship because it will be sold out. Highly recommend watching! There are a lot of family-friendly activities for those of you traveling with kids. Family karaoke and a variety of games they play on the Guest Services level using the huge TV Screen. Very interactive and great for kids. My friend and I really enjoyed the parties at Spice H20, they were great! We especially loved the Glow Party and the 80s Themed Party. Bliss was also a great place to be after the parties ended at Spice H20. We also watched a magic show, but that was pretty underwhelming. Very basic card tricks that I've seen a million times, nothing out of this world. I was expecting something better after seeing Burn the Floor. On the Day at Sea, we chose to spend the day in the Thermal Suites. Highly recommend if you really want to unwind and relax! No kids, very quiet and peaceful. Never got too crowded. It's $48 per person for one day, and 100% worth the money. Everything was clean and luxurious. If your muscles are sore from all the walking, use the thermal pool water jets; they will cure you and you'll feel brand new. As I said earlier, all of our shore excursions were booked with Norwegian. Super overpriced, most of them, but well worth it. We did a shore excursion in Livorno, Palma, and Naples. In Livorno, we did the "Florence & Pisa on your own" excursion. We prefer to kind of do our own thing at the ports, so this was a great option for us. It's simply transportation in an air-conditioned bus (with WIFI!) and a tour guide who gives you a little bit of history on the bus ride and gives recommendations for places to visit. We had a wonderful time. No problems and got back to the ship on time, although Norwegian will always wait for you if you're running late and on a Norwegian shore excursion. My suggestion, do the Florence on your own excursion and skip Pisa. Pisa is very small and you need tickets to get into literally every building in the square. It wasn't spectacular to me. I could've done without it and would have much rather spent that one extra hour in Florence. There's a lot more to do, see, and eat in Florence and your time is better spent there. In Palma, we did another "on your own" type of excursion that simply transported us to and from Palmanova beach, which is supposed to be one of the nicest beaches on the island. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas to rent. You can rent one umbrella and two chairs for 15 euros. The beach itself wasn't anything out of this world, in my opinion. I kept wondering if maybe there were prettier beaches elsewhere. If there's a better tour available, maybe consider one of those. The water was green and kind of dirty, full of pieces of trash and other things. Still a nice, relaxing day. We also had the best sangria and tapas right across the street for super cheap, which made everything well worth it. But I have seen way better beaches elsewhere. We had no problems with people stealing our stuff, we comfortably left everything on our chairs while we were in the water. Be advised if you're traveling with kids, it's a nude beach! In Naples, we did the "Exclusive Amalfi Coast & Pompeii" excursion and although this left us bankrupt, we have no regrets. It was by far the best tour we did the entire week. The drive along the Amalfi coast was more than enough, but we also got an hour in Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii. Each was beautiful and one hour was enough time to grab a quick snack and do a little shopping. We even had time to make our way down the town in Positano and check out the beach. Lunch was at a restaurant overlooking the Amalfi coast, and it was a three-course meal with wine, prosecco, and coffee and dessert. Absolutely delicious. Tour included only around 12 people, so it was very intimate and way better than a huge tour of 40 people. I highly recommend this tour! We arrived in Rome three days prior to the cruise to spend a little more time there, and it was well worth it. I definitely recommend doing this if you're embarking in Rome or Barcelona. When we got off at the Barcelona stop, it was Sunday and most shops and restaurants were closed. It would have been nice to see the city more alive! Here are some other tips I've gathered after my trip and from talking to other cruises who didn't do as much research as we did prior to boarding: - Norwegian provides a bus service that takes you straight to the airport or the port, depending on whether you're arriving or leaving. Very expensive. From Rome, we went to Termini Station and took the train straight to the train station in Civitavecchia. It takes about an hour and five minutes, with multiple stops along the way. It will only cost you around 11 euros per person. Way more affordable and you get a beautiful scenic tour of the countryside along the way. From there, take a taxi straight to the port. It's 5 euros per person and it'll drop you off at the exact terminal. There's a bus as well, but it doesn't take you directly there. You have to walk to a square to reach the bus stop and then walk another 10-15 minutes to your terminal. To get to the airport, disembark the cruise and there is a free shuttle that takes you to a stop that is a ten minute walk away from the train station (same one you get off at to embark). Grab a ticket to FCO airport, get off at Trastevere and hop onto another train to reach FCO. Drops you off directly inside the airport. - If you use the trains in Italy, make sure to validate your ticket prior to getting on the train. They are little green machines that look like hand sanitizer dispensers. If you don't validate your ticket, you get fined. And they do check your tickets on board! - Cannes is VERY expensive and there's a lot of shopping to be done there. Make sure you have enough cash on you or a credit card. We didn't anticipate all the shopping we would do, so we ran out! - We were warned about a lot of pick-pocketting in Europe, but we felt very very safe everywhere we went. However, we were extra cautious and used locks on our purses. We attached the keys to a hair tie and wore that on our wrists. Nobody would ever know. You could also use a necklace. - You need tickets for the following places if you want to visit them: Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Galleria dell'Academia, all of Pisa, Vatican City, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Book them online in advance through the official websites, it is much cheaper and you get to skip all the lines. Vatican City offers a discount for students if you take your student ID, don't forget it! They do check when you get there. - On board, like I said, spend a little more money on a room with at least a window so you can figure out what time of day it is. Well worth it! - Book reservations for Burn the Floor in advance! It's the only show that sells out very quickly, because it's so good. - In Barcelona, USE THE METRO. Best way to get around, very cheap and definitely safe. You will be able to see everything. Do not use the hop on and hop off busses. They seem convenient, but they take FOREVER to get through all the stops. You won't be able to see everything if you use them. We made that mistake. Never again! Extremely long post/review, but hopefully some of you find this helpful if you're planning a future trip. I know I was very nervous traveling to Europe for the first time and I did a lot of research prior to, which I also recommend doing. Norwegian was a nice experience, but there were a few issues that really bothered us, as mentioned above. Would I go again? Definitely, but I think the next time I do Europe it'll be on land. It was a nice taste of different places, and now I know where I want to spend more time and what I want to do. It's a nice vacation for first-timers.

Norwegian Epic July 2017 - Rome Embarkation

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by simpleasnat

42 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; much larger and more extravagant on the inside. Very detailed, many places to eat, really good layout.

We had a few issues on board. For starters, we found out days later that our steward was supposed to come to our room to introduce himself and show us around our room, how everything worked. That never happened. 7 days on the ship and never met him. We also had issues receiving our tickets for our shore excursions. We booked all three of our excursions with Norwegian, and every single time, we had to go downstairs to the excursion desk to get copies of our tickets, as our steward could never bring them to our room on time. We actually never got our tickets for our last excursion. We had to get a pamphlet with the shore excursion meeting times and show up extra early to make sure some staff there could go get our tickets. The first shore excursion we had we got our tickets at the desk, and then the day of the excursion, after we had returned back to the ship, our tickets were waiting for us there. What the point of that was, I have no idea. Really made it frustrating that we didn't have our tickets waiting in our room, ever. Always had to make time to visit the desk, wait in line, and wait for our ticket copies.

Another issue we had was with the staff. One night, my friend and I were having a late night snack at O'Sheenan's and some random drunk guy sat out our table trying to hit on us. We got really uncomfortable when he wouldn't leave, so we called over a staff member to get him to escort him away. The staff member got really offended because he thought we had called him over with our middle finger (why anyone would do that, I have no idea), and gave us a lecture on how that was very rude and offensive before we could even ask him to take the man away. Once he had told the guy to leave, he once again scolded us on calling him over with our middle finger. Completely unnecessary. We're two girls, no need for that.

Other than that encounter with the staff, everyone else was excellent. We made a lot of friends with staff from different places who worked in different parts of the ship, and it was nice to run into them again days later and have them remember us, our names, and how they had met us. They gave great recommendations and were cool to hang out with. We met some really wonderful people that worked on board.

We got an interior cabin room, so no windows. It kind of sucked because we never knew when it was light out or dark out. It really threw us off. Sometimes we would walk up to the deck and be shocked that it was still light out. Our fault, for not spending a little more money on a room with a window. Definitely recommend! It's worth it. Our room was very cramped and small. Often, my friend and I had to walk around each other when we were doing our hair or our makeup, or trying to change our clothes or pack. The layout of the room is a little weird, with the bathroom and shower at the entrance of the room and the sink on the dresser area. Didn't bother us much. You can control the temperature of the room, which was great. There's also American and European outlets in the rooms. Two American, so we had no need for the European ones. Worked out perfectly fine. The bed was always clean and very comfortable to sleep in. Had no problems. Despite us never getting our tickets on time or meeting our steward, he always cleaned our room twice a day, much appreciated. I will say the lighting sucks in there. Too many buttons for lighting in different areas, which is fine, but it was still so dim and dark with all the lights on. Made it very hard to see our makeup accurately. A small thing, but kind of important for us girls!

Dining was excellent. We always had dinner at The Manhattan, and hardly ever were we disappointed. I think there was maybe one night where we weren't fans of what we ordered, but they nailed almost everything else. I will say, they can't seem to get dessert right. It always fell short of my expectations. The creme brulee was delicious, definitely try that! Staff was very sweet and always made sure to seat us near a window. They started to recognize us as the girls who wanted dinner with a view, so at one point we didn't even have to ask anymore. They also sat us right next to the dance floor one night when there was a show happening, which was very kind of them. We had the best seats! Buffet was also pretty good, I especially liked the Asian food offered and the salad selection. Only ate there once, on the first day. O'Sheenan's had great breakfast, although I definitely preferred Taste for breakfast. Ate at Taste almost every morning before getting off the ship, and they were always accommodating when we told them we were in a rush because we had to meet for a tour.

I have one very strong complaint about pricing on the ship. My friend and I only traveled with carry-on luggage, so we had no room for sunblock or aloe which was much needed after so many days in the sun. We went to the gift shop only to find out that for one regular sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and aloe, it was going to cost us $36!! $18 each for a brand I know very well is sold for around $10 literally anywhere else. What a ripoff. I understand cruises up-charge, but that was ridiculously expensive and we refused to purchase. **Here's a little tip**: Guest Services sells the exact same products for $15 each, only when the gift shop is closed. Get your stuff there. Still expensive, but at least not as bad. They also have tooth paste and tanning oil. Avoid the gift shop at all costs. They do, however, only have a limited amount, so don't wait until the end of the trip to go stock up. Get it early on, or wait until you're at a port that sells sunblock right off the ship. You'll find it for even cheaper, in euros, of course.

As far as entertainment and activities go, there wasn't much to do that really interested us. Most of the time, we were exhausted after long days of walking at the port stops, so we simply had dinner and went to bed. We really did enjoy Burn the Floor, excellent show if you appreciate dancing. Book your reservation for that early, don't wait until you're on the ship because it will be sold out. Highly recommend watching! There are a lot of family-friendly activities for those of you traveling with kids. Family karaoke and a variety of games they play on the Guest Services level using the huge TV Screen. Very interactive and great for kids. My friend and I really enjoyed the parties at Spice H20, they were great! We especially loved the Glow Party and the 80s Themed Party. Bliss was also a great place to be after the parties ended at Spice H20. We also watched a magic show, but that was pretty underwhelming. Very basic card tricks that I've seen a million times, nothing out of this world. I was expecting something better after seeing Burn the Floor.

On the Day at Sea, we chose to spend the day in the Thermal Suites. Highly recommend if you really want to unwind and relax! No kids, very quiet and peaceful. Never got too crowded. It's $48 per person for one day, and 100% worth the money. Everything was clean and luxurious. If your muscles are sore from all the walking, use the thermal pool water jets; they will cure you and you'll feel brand new.

As I said earlier, all of our shore excursions were booked with Norwegian. Super overpriced, most of them, but well worth it. We did a shore excursion in Livorno, Palma, and Naples.

In Livorno, we did the "Florence & Pisa on your own" excursion. We prefer to kind of do our own thing at the ports, so this was a great option for us. It's simply transportation in an air-conditioned bus (with WIFI!) and a tour guide who gives you a little bit of history on the bus ride and gives recommendations for places to visit. We had a wonderful time. No problems and got back to the ship on time, although Norwegian will always wait for you if you're running late and on a Norwegian shore excursion. My suggestion, do the Florence on your own excursion and skip Pisa. Pisa is very small and you need tickets to get into literally every building in the square. It wasn't spectacular to me. I could've done without it and would have much rather spent that one extra hour in Florence. There's a lot more to do, see, and eat in Florence and your time is better spent there.

In Palma, we did another "on your own" type of excursion that simply transported us to and from Palmanova beach, which is supposed to be one of the nicest beaches on the island. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas to rent. You can rent one umbrella and two chairs for 15 euros. The beach itself wasn't anything out of this world, in my opinion. I kept wondering if maybe there were prettier beaches elsewhere. If there's a better tour available, maybe consider one of those. The water was green and kind of dirty, full of pieces of trash and other things. Still a nice, relaxing day. We also had the best sangria and tapas right across the street for super cheap, which made everything well worth it. But I have seen way better beaches elsewhere. We had no problems with people stealing our stuff, we comfortably left everything on our chairs while we were in the water. Be advised if you're traveling with kids, it's a nude beach!

In Naples, we did the "Exclusive Amalfi Coast & Pompeii" excursion and although this left us bankrupt, we have no regrets. It was by far the best tour we did the entire week. The drive along the Amalfi coast was more than enough, but we also got an hour in Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii. Each was beautiful and one hour was enough time to grab a quick snack and do a little shopping. We even had time to make our way down the town in Positano and check out the beach. Lunch was at a restaurant overlooking the Amalfi coast, and it was a three-course meal with wine, prosecco, and coffee and dessert. Absolutely delicious. Tour included only around 12 people, so it was very intimate and way better than a huge tour of 40 people. I highly recommend this tour!

We arrived in Rome three days prior to the cruise to spend a little more time there, and it was well worth it. I definitely recommend doing this if you're embarking in Rome or Barcelona. When we got off at the Barcelona stop, it was Sunday and most shops and restaurants were closed. It would have been nice to see the city more alive!

Here are some other tips I've gathered after my trip and from talking to other cruises who didn't do as much research as we did prior to boarding:

- Norwegian provides a bus service that takes you straight to the airport or the port, depending on whether you're arriving or leaving. Very expensive. From Rome, we went to Termini Station and took the train straight to the train station in Civitavecchia. It takes about an hour and five minutes, with multiple stops along the way. It will only cost you around 11 euros per person. Way more affordable and you get a beautiful scenic tour of the countryside along the way. From there, take a taxi straight to the port. It's 5 euros per person and it'll drop you off at the exact terminal. There's a bus as well, but it doesn't take you directly there. You have to walk to a square to reach the bus stop and then walk another 10-15 minutes to your terminal. To get to the airport, disembark the cruise and there is a free shuttle that takes you to a stop that is a ten minute walk away from the train station (same one you get off at to embark). Grab a ticket to FCO airport, get off at Trastevere and hop onto another train to reach FCO. Drops you off directly inside the airport.

- If you use the trains in Italy, make sure to validate your ticket prior to getting on the train. They are little green machines that look like hand sanitizer dispensers. If you don't validate your ticket, you get fined. And they do check your tickets on board!

- Cannes is VERY expensive and there's a lot of shopping to be done there. Make sure you have enough cash on you or a credit card. We didn't anticipate all the shopping we would do, so we ran out!

- We were warned about a lot of pick-pocketting in Europe, but we felt very very safe everywhere we went. However, we were extra cautious and used locks on our purses. We attached the keys to a hair tie and wore that on our wrists. Nobody would ever know. You could also use a necklace.

- You need tickets for the following places if you want to visit them: Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Galleria dell'Academia, all of Pisa, Vatican City, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Book them online in advance through the official websites, it is much cheaper and you get to skip all the lines. Vatican City offers a discount for students if you take your student ID, don't forget it! They do check when you get there.

- On board, like I said, spend a little more money on a room with at least a window so you can figure out what time of day it is. Well worth it!

- Book reservations for Burn the Floor in advance! It's the only show that sells out very quickly, because it's so good.

- In Barcelona, USE THE METRO. Best way to get around, very cheap and definitely safe. You will be able to see everything. Do not use the hop on and hop off busses. They seem convenient, but they take FOREVER to get through all the stops. You won't be able to see everything if you use them. We made that mistake. Never again!

Extremely long post/review, but hopefully some of you find this helpful if you're planning a future trip. I know I was very nervous traveling to Europe for the first time and I did a lot of research prior to, which I also recommend doing. Norwegian was a nice experience, but there were a few issues that really bothered us, as mentioned above. Would I go again? Definitely, but I think the next time I do Europe it'll be on land. It was a nice taste of different places, and now I know where I want to spend more time and what I want to do. It's a nice vacation for first-timers.
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IX 12289
We got an interior cabin room, so no windows. It kind of sucked because we never knew when it was light out or dark out. It really threw us off. Sometimes we would walk up to the deck and be shocked that it was still light out. Our fault, for not spending a little more money on a room with a window. Definitely recommend! It's worth it. Our room was very cramped and small. Often, my friend and I had to walk around each other when we were doing our hair or our makeup, or trying to change our clothes or pack. The layout of the room is a little weird, with the bathroom and shower at the entrance of the room and the sink on the dresser area. Didn't bother us much. You can control the temperature of the room, which was great. There's also American and European outlets in the rooms. Two American, so we had no need for the European ones. Worked out perfectly fine. The bed was always clean and very comfortable to sleep in. Had no problems. Despite us never getting our tickets on time or meeting our steward, he always cleaned our room twice a day, much appreciated. I will say the lighting sucks in there. Too many buttons for lighting in different areas, which is fine, but it was still so dim and dark with all the lights on. Made it very hard to see our makeup accurately. A small thing, but kind of important for us girls!
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins