We selected the Epic for our Mediterranean tour, starting in Rome (Civitavecchia). Experience on the ship was very satisfying. Many bars with singers/activities all day and night. Food on the Epic was very good with 2 separate but equal dining rooms or the Garden Buffet, and many specialty restaurants (I did not try). I was glad that they opened the buffet until 11:30 PM for late snacks. The cruise director, Mandy, is charming and seemed to be everywhere. Entertainment, we saw the Epic Beatles (cover band), and Soul Satisfaction (Motown cover singers) for 3 performances each in a week (enough!). But they were very good and got folks up out of their seats dancing. Even old folks like me. There was a comedian/musician for 2 shows, and a Diva singer, but not really enough for the week. A Broadway scale production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert was delightful, and Burn The Floor dance show (just OK maybe overhyped?) and there was a Cirque show ($$$) that I didn't attend. The itinerary and ports of call were great. First day it rained but we were on our own in Livorno. We took the ship's bus to the Livorno train station, bought $22pp r/t tickets to Florence (1h 20m) but needed more time to enjoy it all. Rain didn't help. Next day was Cannes, which we did on our own with miles of local shopping, a mall, and the site of the Cannes film festival. Lovely hotels line the street. the next day was Mallorca and our port call was 3pm-7:30. So we arranged a ship excursion 'Magical Majorca and train to Soller. It was great, and my only beef was that merchants in Soller were on siesta when we arrived and the few that were open did all the business. The 50 min. ride back on the 100 y/o wooden train is super, with 12 tunnels and breathtaking views of the countryside from alongside the mountains. The next day we were in Barcelona and thought we had it all planned. But it was Sunday and La Ramble (shopping) had many stores closed. We bought tickets online for the hop-on hop-off bus (there are 2 online companies-different bus-similar routes) but there were citywide demonstrations for unity government and the buses stopped, as did most traffic. Boo! It happens. After a day at sea next was Naples (Pompeii). We chose the ship's tour Pompeii and enchanting Sorrento. It was wonderful. Great tour guide! We returned to Rome and disembarked flawlessly. We then spent 3 days on our own in Rome seeing everything. Must sees: The Vatican Museum-you can spend days or just hours and hours - it's only 3000 years of history and antiquities. Miles long. (If on your own, buy your tickets online!). #2 Must see - The Coliseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum. (Buy your tickets & Coliseum tour guide online!).
My wife and I had a wonderful trip and only lamented the cabin setup somewhat on the Epic.
This was an excellent cruise with a lousy bathroom setup. It's a good thing I was with my wife, but was still not comfortable. As a staff member lamented, it's a French built ship, and the only one in their fleet. Apparently the French have no shame. It's the first cruise in 15 that I experienced the toilet on one side, the shower across the room opposite, and the sink in a 3rd place on the desk over the tissue dispanser causing wet tissues too. The doors of the toilet on the right and shower on the left are translucent so you can see 'silhouettes on the shade' when doing your business. Ah, those French. But a curtain can be drawn across both as long as nobody comes into the room to surprise you. I never came close to touching those curtains. Like I said, Just my wife and I so it was less uncomfortable. I don't know why they didn't paint the outside of the bathroom doors to make them opaque, but they are frosted glass doors. You can still see into the toilet room right and shower room left but silhouetted. But the rest of the room was fine, plenty of space to store stuff and 3 large wire baskets on the back of the closet door for shoes/handbags/other clothes. The bed was comfortable, as were the pillows. But the room was dark, with 15W bulbs lighting the sink and desktop. No overhead light. The a/c blew against headboard and I had to use blanket up to my neck due to the breeze all night.
We stayed 4 nights in Rome and we LOVED it. Can't get enough, but lots of walking and some trains made it very enjoyable. We saw all the big stuff (16 sites/3 full days). My recomendations for a 1-day there is #1-The Vatican (especially museums) and #2-The Coliseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum (all 'across the street' from one another-buy tix online with tourguide if not on ship tour. Long lines there for tickets.
6 Euro bus to train station-buy ticket to Florence 1h 20min ea. way (22 Euro r/t). Pisa is 20 minutes away. We didn't have time for Pisa touring on our own.
Walk the coastal shops (many high end) and use the bathrooms in the Mall for 1 Euro. Visit the Cannes Office De Tourisme for a cinematic history treat and a free digital photo sent to your email address.
Didn't have much time, but it was Sunday and also major demonstrations by thousands clogged streets, stopped our hop-on/hop off bus and we had to walk what we could. Demonstrations for Unity Government ended as we had to get back to the ship. Also, many stores on La Ramble were closed on Sunday.