Expection was too high: Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Sanjay

Norwegian Epic 3
Member Since 2007
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Overall Member Rating

Expection was too high

Sail Date: May 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
Mediterranean Cruise' with NCL, held out a promise of a romantic holiday in luxurious, fun filled splendour. Our expectations were perhaps too high.

On the positive side: NCL came through with its usual culinary 'horn of plenty', but only in its free buffet section and some (not all) of the specialities restaurants. On board shopping was as expected - great offers and deals. The relaxed, casual informal atmosphere was nice. On the negative side, we thought the ship was too big and the 4000+ passengers too many for the staff to handle; they looked harried and on many occasions curt and abrupt. Shore excursions arranged through NCL were very overpriced eg. average price of a privately arranged tour was 10% to 20% of NCL's including lunch, with the advantage of one being able to do and eat what one wanted; and despite what must be a hefty margin that NCL makes on these tours, they chose to sell drinking water to us at $4.50 per 750cl a bottle just before we disembarked for the More excursions, this even though water was provided free for consumption in the Garden Cafe and Pool Decks. Entertainment: again, presumably due to the high number of passengers, we were forced to pre-book all shows, many of which were sold out on dates we wanted, and in an endeavour to accommodate all, shows were run concurrently in bars and restaurants, which were not equipped for such events; eg. in a puppet show, one could not see the puppets even when sitting four rows from the front. Our experience on the EPIC was disappointing, and having been on other NCL cruises, from where we came away very happy, we agreed that we did not enjoy our holiday on the NCL Epic as much as we thought we would and we would not recommend NCL Epic to anyone. Less

Published 06/14/11

Cabin review: B5 Family Balcony

Tiny family balcony cabin, with half of the space taken up by a settee and an Open-plan loo: shower, toilet and wash basin positioned so that one walks into the loo first on entering the cabin. The announcements over the ships Tannoy start off early in the morning and do disturb the peace of those wanting a lie in.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Barcelona is a must visit! Preferably on one's own rather than on one of NCL's heavily overpriced shore excursions.

Read 1748 Barcelona Reviews

Florence and Pisa is a full day tour which takes off from the port of Livorno and includes a meal. Florence is worth a visit. Food provided as a part of the package deal is very basic and not worth it, but NCL do not offer a choice. One can choose to restrict oneself visiting just Pisa, which is an hour's drive from Livorno. Advantage of going through NCL is that they will take complete charge and you do not need to lift a finger. Shuttle buses and trains run regularly between Livorno, Pisa and Florence and if you do your research and finalise your itinerary in advance do arrange a private tour rather than one through NCL. You could get to take in the breathtaking sights of Florence and Pisa at about 15% of what NCL would cost you.

A visit to Pompeii/Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius is a must. However, the mandatory 45 minute stop at a Coral Factory in a 6 hour trip, was not very popular with the group. If you could arrange with 13 other people to hire a minibus (NCL would provide a tour guide), structure your tour to your own liking and if it turns out to be a bright and clear sunny day, you could easily change the rating to 5.

Read 1171 Naples Reviews

Breathtaking beauty of Palma de Mallorca is a 'must see', if you have not been there before. If you can, do take the train to Soller and visit the scenic Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa, where Frédéric Chopin together with Sand and their two children took up lodgings.

Chaotic - one word to describe a visit to Rome and the Vatican, largely due to the crowds and traffic. The reason given is that there is so much to see that it would take at least a week to do everything properly, so they will show you the Colosseum from outside and drive you around various sights and do a detailed tour of Vatican City, where one would be busy trying to keep pace with and not lose sight of the guide while navigating through winding countless lines of other tour groups moving every which way they can. We would have been much happier to have done Rome on our own rather than as part of NCL's Shore Excursion, which included an indifferent lunch served by surly waiters.

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Member Since 2007
59 Forum Posts
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