Review Norwegian Epic Western Med Cruise September 22, 2019
This cruise originated and returned to Barcelona. I am platinum on Norwegian and Princess and have been on westbound Trans-Atlantic cruises on the Epic.
Because this cruise was less than 80% full embarkation was a breeze.
We had a starboard balcony on Deck 11. Our cabin steward is a young lady from China. We had a problem which was only partially resolved. The shower enclosure had a depression in the center, and with the drain on the perimeter higher than the low point of the shower floor, there is water accumulated in the floor of the shower enclosure. That meant one's feet is always in dirty water. We called attention to this problem and various people worked on the problem, including the Customer Relations Manager. Towards the end of the cruise he offered us use of a mini-suite portside on Deck 10. Instead we requested some internet minutes and each got 100 minutes.
I started the Cruise Critics Meet and Greet on this cruise. Only 10 of us showed up. Eleven officers showed up. See attached photo.
We enjoyed the food on this cruise with one exception. As platinum we got free meals in Moderno and Le Bistro. Both were great. I had brought on board five bottles of wine purchased in Barcelona. They were great. In the Manhattan Room one night we had a table next to the stage and enjoyed the music. I am disappointed there was never prime rib on the menu.
The one bad experience with dining was at Shanghai, the Asian fusion place. It was simply awful.
The best show on this cruise was Burn the Floor, the dance show. Inexplicably the same show was presented twice in a seven night cruise. There was a show of a violinist and his flamingo dancer wife. There was not enough there for a 40-minute show. To borrow a comment from a previous Epic cruise, "I have seen better in the Paris Metro."
There was six ports of call on this cruise. We did not do any NCL excursions so the remarks here are included for completeness.
In Naples we went with italytours.eu for a day tour along the Amalfi Coast. We had a driver, who did his best to also be a tour guide. Our first stop was the town of Positano where houses are built on cliffs. We had a longer shop in Sorrento where we had lunch. Before going back to the ship we drove through some of Naples which I do not consider pretty.
For Rome we took the train from Civitavecchia. The drop off point of the free bus from the ship to the entrance of the port has changed so it is now a two kilometer walk to the train station, instead of 8 minutes. We rode the train all the way to Rome Termini. We had tickets for the Borghese Gallery. I have been to most of the top museums in the world and the Borghese held my attention for two hours! Back in Civitavecchia we took the two-euro bus to the entrance of the port.
In Livorno we booked a tour to Florence and Pisa. We took the five-euro bus to the center of Livorno where we met the tour. We boarded double-decker buses for the ride to Florence. We stopped in a restaurant where we had a small snack and a bit of wine. We had free time in Florence. I had been to Florence before so we admired the doors to the Baptistry of the Duomo but skipped the long line to enter the basilica. We walked to City Hall. We walked to Ponte Vecchia where my wife admired the jewelry on display. I, a diabetic, risked my life and had a gelato with my wife. We had a lengthy stop in Pisa but the free tickets to enter the basilica were gone. The tour bus delivered us directly to the ship.
In Cannes we walked into town, past the Palais des Festivals and admired the designer stores along Promenade de la Pantiero and rue d'Antibes. The biggest shopping center was deserted. We walked back to the ship.
We skipped Palma de Mallorca.
As platinum Latitudes members we had priority disembarkation and we had afternoon flights so disembarkation was a breeze too.