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I choose this mini cruise as I had never been with NCL before and wanted to try a short cruise with them. So here’s a summary of my trip. Boarding: Barcelona port is easy to get to by taxi, but if you get there before 1pm be prepared to queue in the building and then outside and down the side of the terminal. There is no shade at all, and you could be waiting an hour at least just to get in the terminal. I got there for 11:10 and within 20 mins was in the terminal but that only because they filled up the snakes queues with people. Once security opened and you got through to check in it went quite quickly and boarding was smooth. The ship: only having lifts front and back is a pain and you cannot take a lift straight down to level 5 where guest services are. You have to go to 6, walk through the casino and then take the escalator up and down. Guest services do not have enough people on for the number on the ship, be prepared for at least a 20 minute wait to talk to someone if you go between 8am and 9pm. There is no smoking inside the ship, but you can still smell it when you go through the casino. There seemed to be plenty of places to sit and enjoy the world going by and lots of loungers on deck. I never saw the marketplace lit up the way it is on the pictures and could not access H2O at any time on the first day as it was booked by a private party. I only ate in taste on a morning for breakfast and it was okay. I asked for toast and got two slices of slightly warm bread that quickly went damp and floppy, but the service was good. I ate in the 3 speciality restaurants le bistro, Teppanyaki and cagneys. The bistro was by far the best - excellent service and food. Teppanyaki was good, but very loud and go hungry as you get lots! By far the worst was cagneys, I had been really looking forward to this as I had read so many good reviews, but the service was poor and the food not great. The steak was not of great quality (I ordered filet mignon which should be full of flavour), but it tasted of nothing and the Parmesan fries were cold after a couple of minutes on my plate and the mac and cheese was gloopy and again tasted of very little. Desert was good, but the portion size was massive and the service was not great. I’ve had far better steak and service at home. I ate in o’sheehans once but to be honest it was just basic burgers, hotdogs and wings and again they were okay but nothing special. I had to wait 20 mins for a table but that was probably because it was a bad day at sea so everyone was eating and staying inside. Apart from le bistro the food was very much the ‘mass catering’ standard you would get at any middle of the road mall or chain restaurant. My cabin: I had 8192 aft balcony cabin. It was clean and tidy enough, but showing obvious signs of age and disrepair. Loads of storage and I didn’t mind the bathroom in the bedroom thing, but as I was travelling on my own I can see how it would not be great if you were travelling with someone else. The bed was comfy and the room stewards are amazing and work so hard - nothing was too much trouble for them! The main issue I had with my room was the noise, the first night was really rough and the creaking in the room was horrendous. I had to jam a beach towel over the safe as even with the door locked it banged, I had to take all the loose hangers down and wrap them in the other towel. I had to jam a facecloth in the shower sliding door as it didn’t click shut and so kept sliding backwards and forwards and banging. I had to put a towel under the door so that the light from outside didn’t come in and my shawl over the telephone as it gave out lots of light at night. But by far the worst was the noise from the engines, the vibration and the creaking that came from around the balcony door. I think I just about got 1-2 hrs sleep that night. When I went to guest services to complain they said it all because of the weather, but I’ve been on other ships in that kind of weather and it’s never been that bad. Shows: I went to both cirque and burn the floor. Both were excellent but you absolutely have to book them in advance if you want to go. Tours: I only went on 1 tour to sorrento and Pompeii, it was well organised but they did that thing that I really hate (that they don’t tell you about either) where you are forced to go on factory tours at each stop to basically get you to buy things, so at sorrento we had to walk round a wood working store for half an hour and then got an hour and a half to enjoy sorrento, then back on the bus to Pompeii. We had an hour and a half guided tour, but if your thing is to shuffle along with 40 other people trying to see about a third of somewhere then it’s all good. We then left and were driven to a cameo factory were we had a 10min ‘tour’ then had half an hour to shop. If I is was doing it again I would definitely just book something through trip advisor myself and not do the ship tour. Disembarkation: port citivatevecchia. I choose to get myself and my luggage off and I left at about 8am. It was super easy, I just took the lift down to 4, very little queue and was off by 8:10. The port at Rome is awful, basically just a big hanger with no seating or anything. There are buses laid on to take you to the port gates which is a long way away. I had a private taxi booked but again there was no organisation on the port officials side and you had to constantly watch out for the driver with your name. It cost €120 to go from the port to Rome central and it’s about an hour and a half by car. If you are taking a bus then train it is about the same time so that needs to be factored in if going on a day trip. Final thoughts: there is plenty going on on-board the ship, but it is showing it’s age now and the service ranges from excellent to can’t really be bothered. I will never get an aft room again and I don’t know if I would do an ncl cruise again. I got a good deal with drinks, internet, service charges and on board credit, but I would say it’s very middle of the road, mass catering feel to the whole thing. You were never really made to feel special which for me should be part of the cruise experience.

Okay but not great

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by FN1

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I choose this mini cruise as I had never been with NCL before and wanted to try a short cruise with them. So here’s a summary of my trip.

Boarding: Barcelona port is easy to get to by taxi, but if you get there before 1pm be prepared to queue in the building and then outside and down the side of the terminal. There is no shade at all, and you could be waiting an hour at least just to get in the terminal. I got there for 11:10 and within 20 mins was in the terminal but that only because they filled up the snakes queues with people. Once security opened and you got through to check in it went quite quickly and boarding was smooth.

The ship: only having lifts front and back is a pain and you cannot take a lift straight down to level 5 where guest services are. You have to go to 6, walk through the casino and then take the escalator up and down. Guest services do not have enough people on for the number on the ship, be prepared for at least a 20 minute wait to talk to someone if you go between 8am and 9pm. There is no smoking inside the ship, but you can still smell it when you go through the casino. There seemed to be plenty of places to sit and enjoy the world going by and lots of loungers on deck. I never saw the marketplace lit up the way it is on the pictures and could not access H2O at any time on the first day as it was booked by a private party. I only ate in taste on a morning for breakfast and it was okay. I asked for toast and got two slices of slightly warm bread that quickly went damp and floppy, but the service was good. I ate in the 3 speciality restaurants le bistro, Teppanyaki and cagneys. The bistro was by far the best - excellent service and food. Teppanyaki was good, but very loud and go hungry as you get lots! By far the worst was cagneys, I had been really looking forward to this as I had read so many good reviews, but the service was poor and the food not great. The steak was not of great quality (I ordered filet mignon which should be full of flavour), but it tasted of nothing and the Parmesan fries were cold after a couple of minutes on my plate and the mac and cheese was gloopy and again tasted of very little. Desert was good, but the portion size was massive and the service was not great. I’ve had far better steak and service at home. I ate in o’sheehans once but to be honest it was just basic burgers, hotdogs and wings and again they were okay but nothing special. I had to wait 20 mins for a table but that was probably because it was a bad day at sea so everyone was eating and staying inside. Apart from le bistro the food was very much the ‘mass catering’ standard you would get at any middle of the road mall or chain restaurant.

My cabin: I had 8192 aft balcony cabin. It was clean and tidy enough, but showing obvious signs of age and disrepair. Loads of storage and I didn’t mind the bathroom in the bedroom thing, but as I was travelling on my own I can see how it would not be great if you were travelling with someone else. The bed was comfy and the room stewards are amazing and work so hard - nothing was too much trouble for them! The main issue I had with my room was the noise, the first night was really rough and the creaking in the room was horrendous. I had to jam a beach towel over the safe as even with the door locked it banged, I had to take all the loose hangers down and wrap them in the other towel. I had to jam a facecloth in the shower sliding door as it didn’t click shut and so kept sliding backwards and forwards and banging. I had to put a towel under the door so that the light from outside didn’t come in and my shawl over the telephone as it gave out lots of light at night. But by far the worst was the noise from the engines, the vibration and the creaking that came from around the balcony door. I think I just about got 1-2 hrs sleep that night. When I went to guest services to complain they said it all because of the weather, but I’ve been on other ships in that kind of weather and it’s never been that bad.

Shows: I went to both cirque and burn the floor. Both were excellent but you absolutely have to book them in advance if you want to go.

Tours: I only went on 1 tour to sorrento and Pompeii, it was well organised but they did that thing that I really hate (that they don’t tell you about either) where you are forced to go on factory tours at each stop to basically get you to buy things, so at sorrento we had to walk round a wood working store for half an hour and then got an hour and a half to enjoy sorrento, then back on the bus to Pompeii. We had an hour and a half guided tour, but if your thing is to shuffle along with 40 other people trying to see about a third of somewhere then it’s all good. We then left and were driven to a cameo factory were we had a 10min ‘tour’ then had half an hour to shop. If I is was doing it again I would definitely just book something through trip advisor myself and not do the ship tour.

Disembarkation: port citivatevecchia. I choose to get myself and my luggage off and I left at about 8am. It was super easy, I just took the lift down to 4, very little queue and was off by 8:10. The port at Rome is awful, basically just a big hanger with no seating or anything. There are buses laid on to take you to the port gates which is a long way away. I had a private taxi booked but again there was no organisation on the port officials side and you had to constantly watch out for the driver with your name. It cost €120 to go from the port to Rome central and it’s about an hour and a half by car. If you are taking a bus then train it is about the same time so that needs to be factored in if going on a day trip.

Final thoughts: there is plenty going on on-board the ship, but it is showing it’s age now and the service ranges from excellent to can’t really be bothered. I will never get an aft room again and I don’t know if I would do an ncl cruise again. I got a good deal with drinks, internet, service charges and on board credit, but I would say it’s very middle of the road, mass catering feel to the whole thing. You were never really made to feel special which for me should be part of the cruise experience.
FN1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF 8192
Clean but tired, very noisy and creaky, not a huge amount of room and in bad weather the vibrations from the engines is really horrendous. Comfy bed, but I’m 172 cm and my feet were hanging off the end when laid down. 4 plugs in total - 2 European and 2 American no usb plugs. Bathroom split would be an issue for anyone travelling with a friend or parent. Lots of towels and face cloths but basic amenities given. Shape of sofa means you can’t really sit and relax on it, but loads of storage behind it, in fact storage was the best thing about the room.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Sorrento
    Very little time in each - factory/shopping tours that were not advertised done as part of it and you had no option but to do them.
    View All 150 Sorrento Reviews