Epic Adventure with grown children (long): Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by M_J

Norwegian Epic 4
Member Since 2009
57 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Epic Adventure with grown children (long)

Sail Date: October 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
Getting there
After a direct flight from JFK we stayed at Petit Palace hotel prior to the cruise. It was centrally located steps off Las Ramblas and quiet. The room we had was called an apartment it was on 2 levels, slept 8 and had a small efficiency kitchen that allowed us to do some light cooking. This was great since the Bouqueria market was just across the street. We also stopped in Carrefours supermarket on Las Ramblas to pick up soda and juice to carry onto the ship.
Embarkation was very easy, even though our printed docs were in the checked baggage - somehow since they were called e-docs hubby figured he didnt need the paper :). We checked in separately from the kids and it took each of us about 20 minutes, vs about 5 minutes for those who had their documents. We were on the ship by noon and the rooms were ready at 12:30.

We had a mini-suite and 2 interior rooms on deck 9. The balcony was completely covered and easily fit all 6 of us. The sofa was More near the window, which I prefer, as I like to sit and look out the balcony when it is windy. The stateroom had lots of storage and there were no issues with the bathrooms. The balcony room had a larger shower and more counter space, the interior rooms felt very spacious and no one felt crowded. Our rooms were near the aft elevators, but we never heard any elevator or hallway noise. One negative is that the TV options were horrible - MSNBC, CNBC, Nick in 4 languages and one channel that played the sitcoms.

Food and Drink
We ate at The Manhattan Room, Taste and the Garden Caf. (We have been on NCL before and did not think the extra cost restaurants provided value.) Most of the food was very good to excellent. There were a couple of entrees that were not up to par (lobster tail and a beef dish). Service was excellent when the restaurants werent busy, but spotty during prime time which usually occurred after 8:30 pm when the early shows were done. We ordered room service for port-day breakfast and they were so efficient they arrived early, accompanied by a phone call to let us know they were on their way.

We bought a wine package. It is available on embarkation day outside the garden caf and gives a 20% discount if you buy 6 to 8 bottles. Unlike previous cruises, they gave us a chit for that nights wine and delivered the rest to the cabin. We had ordered an NCL setup (brandy) a week before the cruise and were pleasantly surprised when the bottle of wine and vodka that we purchased in Barcelona and were prepared to leave in the naughty room was delivered to the cabin.

Steve Sorrentino was good but the venue Headliners was horrible and many of the seats had obstructed views. Legends was good. The Blue Man Group was mixed. Some skits were fun others seemed long and drawn out. Cirque Dreams was awesome, especially since there were 11 foot waves and the ship was moving around a lot during the performance. The view from the back seats was obstructed by the low ceiling. There was also music all around the ship at most times of the day.

The casino is huge, running half the length of deck 6. You could smell some smoke, but not bad, as you walked through. We are not gamblers but purchased slot play coupons for each room. We had so much fun we wished we had purchased one per person.

Pools, etc
The deck chairs around the pool seemed to get crowded but there were always chairs available. The pools are a joke, as they are so small, but the water slides make up for it. I am not a sun lover and was concerned about finding a place to relax in the shade. It was not a problem. There is a covered area on deck 15 behind the video arcade that had oversized upholstered chairs that was great. It rained one day and we were totally dry in this area.

Shore excursions
Getting off and on the ship was a breeze at all the ports. For the Italy ports we used a private car and driver from Limo In Rome for the 6 of us. We saw everything on our list and more. It was definitely the way to go. We took the HOHO bus right outside the port gates in Palma.

Three of our party also took a behind the scenes tour that is given on sea days. They show you laundry, kitchens, etc and provide you with lots of statistics. It was heaven for the techies in our group.

Guest services
These people were friendly and efficient. If there was a long line, there was usually a guest services person working the line to answer quick questions. One of our bags somehow didn't make it fomr the cab onto the ship. The Guest services people were very helpful in trying to find it, phoning the cab company and the port agent, although the bag was not found.

I was a bit concerned with the size of the ship and its interior focus. It seldom felt crowded and you could always find a quiet corner. I did miss the ability to walk around the outside of the ship but you could walk either side of deck 7 and it was fairly easy to walk the interior length of the ship on the public decks. The crew was outstanding everyone was friendly and offered to assist in anything we needed. There are not as many of the grand public spaces and atriums as other NCL ships, but it is tastefully done and there are a couple of multi deck chandeliers. We would definetly consider another cruise on this ship. Less

Published 10/16/11
Helpful? Thank M_J

Cabin review: MD9249 Mini-Suite with Balcony

9249 - balcony cabin was great. Near the aft elevators but never heard any noise from either the elevators or the hallway. Balcony was completely covered and large - it easily fit the 6 adults in our party. Shower was huge. Bed was near the door and couch near the window. 9241 and 9245 - inside rooms were very comfortable. Lots of storage and quiet. Shower was a smaller than the balcony rooms.

Read All Mini-Suite with Balcony (MD) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We rented a van and driver from Limo in Rome for our party of 6. Mauricio was very knowledgeable and were able to see Pisa and spend a few hours in Florence. The view from Piazza Michelangelo was beautiful. When we mentioned wanting to see some of the countryside the driver offered to stop at a winery. We had a personal tour and tasting of wines, olive oil and specialty port products. The 10 euro fee was reasonable, but we were surprised by it. Suggest if you do personal tours you ask for the cost of any suggestion made by the driver.

The ship docks right in the city - a big plus as you are on your way to sightseeing quickly. We used a private operator (Limo in Rome) that provided a minivan for our party of 6. We traveled the Amalfi coast with stops in Positano and Sorrento, lunch right on the water in Sorrento and a stop in Pompeii. There were a lot of ships in port and in Pompeii. Many times we turned a corner we found yet another 2 - 3 large groups and there was sometimes a wait to go into various building. The day was awesome.
Read 1173 Naples Reviews

This was our last port and we did not plan anything in advance. The pier was right in town and we caught the hop-on hop-off bus right outside the pier for 15 euros. There is not as much to see as in other ports, but the cathederal is worth a stop as is the overlook at Belvar castle. Our kids took the city bus to the catederal for 1 euro each and walked around the center city for several hours and back to the ship along the harbor walkway.

There is so much to do in this city that one can only scratch the surface. We rented a van and driver from Limo in Rome for the day and had a private guide for 3 hours. we had not planned on the guide but the limo company provided him for free (we tipped well). It really enhanced our experience of ancient Rome. We went into the Coliseum and Forum and stopped at Aventine Hill, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. We purchased sandwiches and had the driver drop us in the Borghese Gardens for a picnic. What a quiet spot in a noisy city. We finished the day walking over Ponte Angelo and down to the exterior of the Vatican. The driver was fantastic. Rome driving is a real challenge and he got us safely to where we wanted to go with only short walks to the attractions.

Compare Prices on Norwegian Epic Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Read more Norwegian Epic cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Norwegian Epic Review >>

Compare Prices on Norwegian Epic Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Member Since 2009
57 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Skip X

See Norwegian Epic deals up to 82% off:

October Deals
Norwegian Epic 63% Loved It

7-day Western Mediterranean From Barcelona
See all Norwegian Epic Deals >>