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This was our first time on a Norwegian cruise but I did my research and knew some things to expect. These are my thoughts/experience on the Epic last week: Embarking: We had flown in a day early into Barcelona so we used a taxi to get from our hotel to the pier. It was about $25 euros (around that anyway) and he took us right to the pier no hassles. We gave our luggage to the people outside, walked in and could check in at the desk. We were group 6 and only had to wait about 10 minutes before they called our number. Our room wasn't ready but we walked around and got to see the ship. We thought the process was really easy and organized. Room: We had a Balcony room on the 9th floor (Room 9200). No complaints about the room. We knew about the bathroom situation before we went on the trip so it wasn't a surprise. It didn't bother us but as my husband said if there was another person in the room with us it would have been a little awkward. Our Steward was Michael and he did a good job but we didn't see much of him or talk to him that much. He was on his phone a lot. The steward in the rooms a section down from us was Mark Artadi and he was so great. He'd talk to us when he saw us come back each day and was always smiling. But no issues with the room or anything. We were satisfied. Food: We had the 3 specialty dining meals perk so we went to the Brazilian steakhouse on the sea day. The food was good but it wasn't anything super special. It's more about the experience and if you've been to one steakhouse like that you've been to them all. Everyone was nice and we didn't have any complaints but I don't think I would pay for a meal there. We went to the Italian restaurant the following night and you won't leave hungry. We got a four course meal and there was so much food. It was my husbands favorite meal on the ship. We went to Cagney's for our other meal and it was the same as the Brazillian steakhouse. We couldn't complain about the food but it wasn't anything super special and I wouldn't make it a point to go back if I had to pay for it. I will say the manager came over and acknowledged us which was the only time that happened at any of the restaurants. We did feel a bit more rushed there than the other restaurants we went to. We used the buffet for breakfast and other meals. There was plenty to choose from and we didn't have any issues with it. We went to O'sheehans for a meal one night and it was average. Nothing special, but the food was okay. We did the Taste dining room our last night on the cruise. Food was good and you got large portions. We did not try the Manhattan room so I can't comment on that. Excursions: In Naples we did Vesuvius and Pompeii. They tell you about the walk up Vesuvius and it is no joke, especially with the altitude. It was worth it but you will be tired. The bus ride is very windy and if you get carsick I would make sure to take Dramamine. We could have spent days at Pompeii. Before you go into Pompeii you stop and can redeem you drink coupon and get some pizza or gelato. (We did both). We also got free samples of Limoncello. There was a visit to a Cameo factory before you go to Vesuvius but you aren't forced to buy anything. The bus ride isn't super long. It was my husbands favorite excursion of the trip. In Rome we did the Catacombs and Castles tour. It probably should have been marketed as Catacombs and Countryside as you only see the pope's summer home from the outside and that is the only "castle" you see. But you get a great view of some lakes that were created by collapsed volcanoes and get to visit some smaller towns with unique offerings. The lunch we got that day was fresh made pasta and everything was fresh. (Although the tuna on the salad tasted as though it came from the can as a woman pointed out as we walked back towards the bus) The bus ride from Civitavecchia to Rome is about 1 1/2 - 2 hours but it seemed like all the buses stopped to make sure you got a bathroom break. We did talk to people that did the Vatican and everyone said it was good but that the crowds were crazy. The Catacombs part was great. You can't take pictures inside so don't be disappointed when you get there. Florence: The bus ride from Livorno to Florence is about 2 hours. We had a great tour guide in Valentina. They dopped us off at a leather/jewelry shop in the Santa Croce plaza for a bathroom break and they had sales pitches for you as well but you aren't forced to buy anything and some of the jewelry they showed off was pretty nice. They give you free time before and after you walk through Florence. It was a lot of walking but a good way to see all the sights of Florence. You don't have time to go into the museums or anything but it's a good way to make note of things you would want to do if you go back. We had lunch at a palace of Pesto Lasagna and Tiramisu for dessert. You weren't forced to stay till everyone was done which was nice, you could go exploring once you were finished. We went to Pisa afterwards and it's about another 5-10 minute walk to Pisa from the parking area and another 5 minutes to the tower. Keep in mind there are people all along the streets trying to sell you souvenirs and they can be a little pushy. This was my favorite day as Florence is a beautiful city and was easily walkable. Cannes: We took a bus ride through Eze where we took some scenery pictures from the historic part of town and for $5 euros could enter the botanical garden and see even more widespread views. We then rode to Monaco where we could see the changing of the guard. We were responsible for getting our own lunch and we ended up getting Pasta from a local place. It was good. We found some public gardens to walk through that allowed for extra pictures to be taken of the bay. There is an aquarium we could have done but in the time allotted it didn't feel like it would have been worth the value. The cathedral was free and there is a palace tour for $8 euros. There were people that were about 15 minutes late for the bus which cut into our time in Monte Carlo so there wasn't a lot of time for people to go into the casino and stuff. We didn't do that anyway but you can take pictures of the lobby. Palma: This day felt kinda cheesy for us. We did the Cave of Hams tour which was self guided - but you had a guide with you that just pressed the buttons for English and rushed you along. It felt kinda commercialized compared to other caves we visited. You also visit a pearl factory. Keep in mind they are the lead producers of Imitation pearls so they are fake. It was interesting to see them made but the sales associates were a little more pushy there. Ship Entertainment: We didn't do Cirque or any of the major shows. That's just not really our thing. Plus, our excursions made us super tired so we didn't really stay up super late. We did watch the Stephen Garcia magic show both times and he was very good. We watched the Newlywed not so Newlywed game, and the Game of Ill will both which were funny. There wasn't a ton of trivia which was nice to see and different from the other cruise we had done. There was a lot of live music to pick from and Sean who performed at Shakers was very good. His Queen tribute was fun to watch. We did go to the Ice Bar the last night on the ship. For $50 you get two free drinks and they give you gloves and a winter coat to wear. It was fun to say we did but it isn't something I would do again. It's cold and I live in New England I can drink in the cold 6 months out of the year! Our cruise director was Mandy and she was always on the ship doing something. The casino is in the middle of the ship and you do end up walking through it a lot. That didn't bother us and we knew that would be the case when we booked the trip. There are only three pools (the Haven area has one too I believe but you need to be staying there to use it so I don't count that) which means they are pretty full but that's because of the waterslides which were so crazy busy on the sea day. (It was tricky to find a lounger too but if you hunted hard enough you could find one. We ended up finding chairs by the basketball court). Disembarking: I had read horror stories about how disembarking can be a disaster. I knew we had an early flight out of Barcelona on Sunday and had asked guest services how to make sure I didn't miss my plane. They said my TA had booked us the earliest shuttle possible at 6:15 for the transfer to the airport and that if we were concerned about time to take our own luggage down rather than put out our bags the night before. Thank goodness we took her advice as the area to get your bags was insanely crowded and looked very disorganized. Since we had our own bags we walked right through it and onto our bus. Overall we had a great trip and would book with Norwegian again no questions asked. I will say I can see how people would be surprised as the ship is a little quirky but since we did our research we knew what to expect. We had a great time and would recommend this trip to anyone! I hope this helps with someone who is looking into this trip. Some of the bad reviews made me question our decision to go but I was glad we went despite the bad reviews.

Great Experience on the Epic

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Coasters2Cruise103

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our first time on a Norwegian cruise but I did my research and knew some things to expect. These are my thoughts/experience on the Epic last week:

Embarking: We had flown in a day early into Barcelona so we used a taxi to get from our hotel to the pier. It was about $25 euros (around that anyway) and he took us right to the pier no hassles. We gave our luggage to the people outside, walked in and could check in at the desk. We were group 6 and only had to wait about 10 minutes before they called our number. Our room wasn't ready but we walked around and got to see the ship. We thought the process was really easy and organized.

Room: We had a Balcony room on the 9th floor (Room 9200). No complaints about the room. We knew about the bathroom situation before we went on the trip so it wasn't a surprise. It didn't bother us but as my husband said if there was another person in the room with us it would have been a little awkward. Our Steward was Michael and he did a good job but we didn't see much of him or talk to him that much. He was on his phone a lot. The steward in the rooms a section down from us was Mark Artadi and he was so great. He'd talk to us when he saw us come back each day and was always smiling. But no issues with the room or anything. We were satisfied.

Food: We had the 3 specialty dining meals perk so we went to the Brazilian steakhouse on the sea day. The food was good but it wasn't anything super special. It's more about the experience and if you've been to one steakhouse like that you've been to them all. Everyone was nice and we didn't have any complaints but I don't think I would pay for a meal there. We went to the Italian restaurant the following night and you won't leave hungry. We got a four course meal and there was so much food. It was my husbands favorite meal on the ship. We went to Cagney's for our other meal and it was the same as the Brazillian steakhouse. We couldn't complain about the food but it wasn't anything super special and I wouldn't make it a point to go back if I had to pay for it. I will say the manager came over and acknowledged us which was the only time that happened at any of the restaurants. We did feel a bit more rushed there than the other restaurants we went to. We used the buffet for breakfast and other meals. There was plenty to choose from and we didn't have any issues with it. We went to O'sheehans for a meal one night and it was average. Nothing special, but the food was okay. We did the Taste dining room our last night on the cruise. Food was good and you got large portions. We did not try the Manhattan room so I can't comment on that.

Excursions:

In Naples we did Vesuvius and Pompeii. They tell you about the walk up Vesuvius and it is no joke, especially with the altitude. It was worth it but you will be tired. The bus ride is very windy and if you get carsick I would make sure to take Dramamine. We could have spent days at Pompeii. Before you go into Pompeii you stop and can redeem you drink coupon and get some pizza or gelato. (We did both). We also got free samples of Limoncello. There was a visit to a Cameo factory before you go to Vesuvius but you aren't forced to buy anything. The bus ride isn't super long. It was my husbands favorite excursion of the trip.

In Rome we did the Catacombs and Castles tour. It probably should have been marketed as Catacombs and Countryside as you only see the pope's summer home from the outside and that is the only "castle" you see. But you get a great view of some lakes that were created by collapsed volcanoes and get to visit some smaller towns with unique offerings. The lunch we got that day was fresh made pasta and everything was fresh. (Although the tuna on the salad tasted as though it came from the can as a woman pointed out as we walked back towards the bus) The bus ride from Civitavecchia to Rome is about 1 1/2 - 2 hours but it seemed like all the buses stopped to make sure you got a bathroom break. We did talk to people that did the Vatican and everyone said it was good but that the crowds were crazy. The Catacombs part was great. You can't take pictures inside so don't be disappointed when you get there.

Florence: The bus ride from Livorno to Florence is about 2 hours. We had a great tour guide in Valentina. They dopped us off at a leather/jewelry shop in the Santa Croce plaza for a bathroom break and they had sales pitches for you as well but you aren't forced to buy anything and some of the jewelry they showed off was pretty nice. They give you free time before and after you walk through Florence. It was a lot of walking but a good way to see all the sights of Florence. You don't have time to go into the museums or anything but it's a good way to make note of things you would want to do if you go back. We had lunch at a palace of Pesto Lasagna and Tiramisu for dessert. You weren't forced to stay till everyone was done which was nice, you could go exploring once you were finished. We went to Pisa afterwards and it's about another 5-10 minute walk to Pisa from the parking area and another 5 minutes to the tower. Keep in mind there are people all along the streets trying to sell you souvenirs and they can be a little pushy. This was my favorite day as Florence is a beautiful city and was easily walkable.

Cannes: We took a bus ride through Eze where we took some scenery pictures from the historic part of town and for $5 euros could enter the botanical garden and see even more widespread views. We then rode to Monaco where we could see the changing of the guard. We were responsible for getting our own lunch and we ended up getting Pasta from a local place. It was good. We found some public gardens to walk through that allowed for extra pictures to be taken of the bay. There is an aquarium we could have done but in the time allotted it didn't feel like it would have been worth the value. The cathedral was free and there is a palace tour for $8 euros. There were people that were about 15 minutes late for the bus which cut into our time in Monte Carlo so there wasn't a lot of time for people to go into the casino and stuff. We didn't do that anyway but you can take pictures of the lobby.

Palma: This day felt kinda cheesy for us. We did the Cave of Hams tour which was self guided - but you had a guide with you that just pressed the buttons for English and rushed you along. It felt kinda commercialized compared to other caves we visited. You also visit a pearl factory. Keep in mind they are the lead producers of Imitation pearls so they are fake. It was interesting to see them made but the sales associates were a little more pushy there.

Ship Entertainment: We didn't do Cirque or any of the major shows. That's just not really our thing. Plus, our excursions made us super tired so we didn't really stay up super late. We did watch the Stephen Garcia magic show both times and he was very good. We watched the Newlywed not so Newlywed game, and the Game of Ill will both which were funny. There wasn't a ton of trivia which was nice to see and different from the other cruise we had done. There was a lot of live music to pick from and Sean who performed at Shakers was very good. His Queen tribute was fun to watch. We did go to the Ice Bar the last night on the ship. For $50 you get two free drinks and they give you gloves and a winter coat to wear. It was fun to say we did but it isn't something I would do again. It's cold and I live in New England I can drink in the cold 6 months out of the year! Our cruise director was Mandy and she was always on the ship doing something. The casino is in the middle of the ship and you do end up walking through it a lot. That didn't bother us and we knew that would be the case when we booked the trip. There are only three pools (the Haven area has one too I believe but you need to be staying there to use it so I don't count that) which means they are pretty full but that's because of the waterslides which were so crazy busy on the sea day. (It was tricky to find a lounger too but if you hunted hard enough you could find one. We ended up finding chairs by the basketball court).

Disembarking: I had read horror stories about how disembarking can be a disaster. I knew we had an early flight out of Barcelona on Sunday and had asked guest services how to make sure I didn't miss my plane. They said my TA had booked us the earliest shuttle possible at 6:15 for the transfer to the airport and that if we were concerned about time to take our own luggage down rather than put out our bags the night before. Thank goodness we took her advice as the area to get your bags was insanely crowded and looked very disorganized. Since we had our own bags we walked right through it and onto our bus.

Overall we had a great trip and would book with Norwegian again no questions asked. I will say I can see how people would be surprised as the ship is a little quirky but since we did our research we knew what to expect. We had a great time and would recommend this trip to anyone! I hope this helps with someone who is looking into this trip. Some of the bad reviews made me question our decision to go but I was glad we went despite the bad reviews.
Coasters2Cruise103’s Full Rating Summary
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