12 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Since booking a Mini Suite on the Epic a few months ago I have been reading with interest the reviews on this site. How I wondered if we had thrown our money away; the awful cabins with strange bathrooms and no room at the end of the ... Read More
Since booking a Mini Suite on the Epic a few months ago I have been reading with interest the reviews on this site. How I wondered if we had thrown our money away; the awful cabins with strange bathrooms and no room at the end of the bed. The bland food in the Garden Caf. The expensive drinks and the overbearing sales techniques that have blithed the poor reviewers. Even the lack of central multi-storied atrium seemed to have concerned worried travellers. I read all the reviews with increasing woe and so with trepidation we set off the Barcelona on Sunday 2nd October 2011. Perhaps I should explain a little about myself. I am a bloke knocking on 50 and have travelled extensively both with my job and for holidays. You could say that I have certain standards that I dont wish to compromise and my friends would say that I am interesting to be with especially if I dont consider the price and promise to meet the actual offering. Yes I find I will often send food back (albeit I will not agree to a replacement, as the human being is not good at accepting criticism without revenge: I value my health). Embarkation was a breeze. Disembarkation was a breeze (we wheeled our own bags without any issues). We both thought the stateroom was just lovely and the curved lines a great success. Yes the toilet compartment was a little cramped and the acoustics were not great, but this was not so bad and I have stayed in many a hotel with the same issues. We have travelled on the Legend and Navigator before and the sinks on both of these vessels were pretty small, so I have to ponder exactly how large are the guests that have complained? Surely they can get their hands into the sink to wash them; their faces cannot be that big and are they using loofers as toothbrushes? Strangely NCL have provided a wonderful shower that I used twice a day. Sink not an issue. The length of the bed has been mentioned! I am 6 2 and hey presto I fitted a treat. Actually the bed was extremely comfortable. I liked the little reading lights on a stalk and especially liked the interactive TV where I could check my billing. However there could be a better choice of channels as it does appear that NCL would rather you spend a few dollars renting a movie! This point leads me nicely into the often criticised up-selling that can be found on-board. Yep they want to take photographs and make cash; yep they want to sell you expensive drinks and yep they want you to go to the surcharge restaurants. They certainly want you to go on the NCL organised excursions. But they are not in your face and we never got anything other than a polite OK when we said no thank you. Furthermore, the same up-selling is evident on the other mass market cruise lines. The food. What are people complaining about! The Garden Caf and the Great Outdoors. What a great selection. In fact it is such a great selection that I noted that many guests had filled their plates with a rare smorgasbord of dishes that would not normally be seen on the same plate. Such was the choice that these poor guests were so confused and bewildered that they were mixing such items as curry with fish and chips with a smattering of blue cheese salad dressing. I am sure these people are not the ones complaining of bland food! I broke all the man rules and actually ate salad at lunchtimes! Peculiarly I enjoyed it and suffered no ill effects! We decided that we would splash out on some the speciality restaurants. We found that the Italian on the first night was good and enjoyed excellent service. I can understand the comments regarding the food at the Cirque but I have this to say. These guys are trying to hit a happy medium! They have to. There is one starter, one main course and one desert to be served (pretty much at the same time) to a wide audience that ranges in age and culture. I attend Industry and Conference dinners in London at prestige hotels and experience similar. If you are complaining about the food at the Cirque venue then you have missed the real point. This being what is happening 15 in front of you not on the plate that is only 12 inches in front. We also paid extra for Cagneys, Moderno and Teppanyaki and found the surcharge to be reasonable and the service excellent. It is staggering the quality they come up with in the middle of the sea! Taste was reasonable, although the quality of the food was below that which you pay a little extra for. The biggest surprise was the quality of the food in OSheehans as this is included in your ticket. This is American Diner food and was excellent and you can order as much as you like! Entertainment was really very good. The big productions on other cruise ships are goodish and if you like the big theatre feel then you may prefer these. The Epic goes for a more intimate feel. We have seen Cirque de Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall for the past 3 years. Its a big production, or rather the set is a big production but with similar performances as you will witness on the Epic. We choose to sit up-stairs and the way the Spiegel Tent has been set up, everyone has a great view. For me this was better than the big London performances and believe me far cheaper! Blue Man Group was a revelation. Loved them and went standby to see them twice. The Beatle tribute band that was moved from H20 to Fat Cats due to weather were fantastic. Again the venue helps as you really get to see the performers up close. I dont really like the Beatles music, but loved the show as the personalities of band really shone through. This was also true of the Slam Allen Band who we hold entirely responsible for some late nights. I am an avid non smoker who occasionally can smell if the car driver in front is smoking. We didnt spend any real time in the Casino as I cannot gamble. This is not a religious thing I simply loose my money quickly! However if I had have wanted to drop a little cash I would not have done so as this area is quite smoky when busy! Oh well live and let live! We have a good dance at the White Hot Party although we did not spend a lot of time at H2O (too many other bars to enjoy). It defies belief that there are 3 flumes, and we particularly liked the one that you had to use the rings. It was good to shoot around the bowl many times! As you may have gathered there are more activities than time and we didnt get round to going the following: Bliss nightclub; bowling, Spa; Comedy Club and Duelling Pianos, Legends in Concert, Ice Bar; Chinese Restaurant; the Noodle Bar; the Sushi Bar. There are probably a few others that are tucked away. So can we recommend this ship? You may be surprised to learn that no we cannot; well that is if you like going to the same restaurant every night and delight in getting to know the waiter and other table mates! If you like the big Broadway shows! If you like a standard square cabin with little technology! If you like dressing in tuxedos and ball-gowns! If you like a chocolate midnight buffet! If you like a formalised Cruise Director! These are not bad things but if you do then this ship is not for you and it would serve you better to book a traditional cruise. I believe that NCL and their Freestyle Cruise is aimed at a very different demographic. We fall into this demographic and loved it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Cabins 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 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. Entertainment 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. Overall 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. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Please read this review, knowing that we all want different things and what I like may not be what everyone else likes, and visa versa. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean last year as a taster, we had high expectations for the NCL ... Read More
Please read this review, knowing that we all want different things and what I like may not be what everyone else likes, and visa versa. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean last year as a taster, we had high expectations for the NCL Epic, 7 day cruise from Barcelona, to Pisa/Rome/Naples/Palma. There is no doubt about it, this ship is huge and lovely to look at. The embarkation and dis-embarkation procedures as usual were flawless. We arrived at 12.30pm, and were in our room unpacking by 2.30pm. We would always get a balcony now as it gives you the best view. We heard the internal cabins were tight and stuffy. However, our room was fine, more storage than most, but the bathroom area design has been over thought, There is a cheap and nasty curtain that separates the toilet area/shower area and the so called sink, which has no use as it's the size of a sauce pan. this really cheapened the room, and if you are a new couple, or friends, get prepared to have no privacy. Balcony was great, bed comfortable, however some of the worst sleeps I've had due to the constant clicking noise coming from curtain area - totally unexplainable. We asked about the drinks package, and most staff were quiet resentful in answering, however we go there in the end, on your 1st meal you order 6-8 bottles to get 20% off, then they put all the tax and whatever on top, and give you splits of paper for each bottle. This ship has face recognition on it for the over priced photo system, why can't they put the wine on my card and track this. After this we proceeded to the Mandarin Spa which was amazing, would recommend this, but wait a few days as all the over priced treatments are reduced by 20% later in the cruise. Staff very helpful though. We decided to check out the Friends of Dorothy (FOD) party for the LGBT gathering, which was at dinner time every night at 7.30pm. No entertainment was organised, you just turned up at 7.30pm. This should be later with some entertainment as live piano. Although we did appreciate the effort. The ship as I said is massive, some amazing cocktail bars, out door bars, and Ice bar which was fun. The entertainment is amazing, we saw the Blue Man Group which was the highlight, and the Cirque Dreams dinner which was one of the better meals. On that note, I should get the all important subject of food out of the way. Be surprised with the food on this ship.The free areas like the Garden Cafe, Taste and Manhattans offer the usual fair. Garden Cafe has a vast amount to choose from, but all very tasteless to us, and rather bland. Deserts all taste more or less the same, but we never went hungry. Taste and Manhattans, what can I say, a true disappointment, both menus don't change much and decor in taste is more a kin to a tex mex place. One night in Manhattans we were walked all around the room to find our 1 table, and the service is not great. It's worth mentioning here, you get what you pay for, and having read the reviews about this being a nickel and dime cruise, the paying speciality restaurants were very good. Wasabi was the best I've ever had, Teppanyaki was good, however the server kept dropping the food, and cirque dreams was pleasant. Obviously the best staff have been reserved for these areas. The evening entertainment is very good, the white party was one of the best nights, and the fabba party was excellent, as well as the bliss lounge which was friendly - although I have no idea why they have a DJ, as all the music seems to be on the same play list, same music most of the time, so quiet what the DJ is remixing on the "decks" pardon the pun - Id don't know. The cruise director at most of these venues was rather irritating and had a certain attitude which I did not like, but I'm sure others may like it. The drinks are the usual price, with tax etc added on top. The music in other areas like the live guitar lady was amazing in the Whiskey Bar, but please can we have an update from Twice as Nice as they were so dated, and that blond haired man on the piano (Danny Fabilow) is what we called him, attitude was not nice. Please read the excursion reviews carefully, the NCL offers the most expensive I have ever seen. Do your own thing, get the shuttle bus at most of the ports, then the train, and head to Florence/Pisa/Rome by train. By the way, we saw the pope, he always comes out on Wednesday about 11am, get off at the St. Pietro station and walk 10 minutes to the Vatican, take your seat and he will appear. Don't do what everyone else does and get off at Rome Termini. Do it the other way round. Trains are cheap and get a timetable off the Internet before you travel as train times are all over the place. We got back early (4pm) most days, however those who left it later had great trouble getting through the queues for the shuttle bus - don't miss your ship on the way back in other words. All in all, we had a great time on the ship, dinners were not formal as RCI, but some liked this some didn't, we liked the informal dining times, and the booking system from your TV was very helpful. I'm not damning the EPIC, as I said we all want different things, it's just end of the day, it's a pricey trip and I don't think you should have to pay over the odds for good food in addition to what you have paid. If they get the free food areas right, then they are onto a winner. Finally, people make this trip and you have to make the effort to meet them, and we did. We met some amazing lovely people and had some great nights. NCL did try and put on some great nights. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
First of all here was no lifejacket or safety muster and when we asked the crew shrugged their shoulders. I thought it was mandatory on board ship. Cabin.. we booked an aft facing balcony stateroom, no problem lots of storage and coat ... Read More
First of all here was no lifejacket or safety muster and when we asked the crew shrugged their shoulders. I thought it was mandatory on board ship. Cabin.. we booked an aft facing balcony stateroom, no problem lots of storage and coat hangers. Although when on the balcony it was noisy, and the ship rocked and rolled even though the sea was calm. Never experienced this on other cruises. Resturants..We felt the resturants were disappointing, Garden Terrace food cold and greasy. Taste and Manhattan ok but very repetitive.One meal in the Manhattan was so bad my husband had to return it and because we could not get any satisfaction from the waitress we called the Maitre ,d who after much deliberation finally allowed us a complimentary bottle of wine but for some reason we couldn,t have it until the next night! Trips.. The trip to Pisa was spoilt by spending 2 and half hours around an Outlet mail, 1 hour around a leather factory and only 1 and half hours around Pisa itself. Enjoyed the Rome and Sorrento trips. The ship is huge which lends itself to being a little souless and deck 15 is a nightmare.. whole deck taken up by the casino which was smoky and the smoke drifted up to the next deck and bar. Other passengers we spoke to seemed as disenchanted as us with the ship and its worth noting the Surcharge of $12 per day each is voluntary but it took 3 visits to the Guest Service to get this removed from our bill and Oh boy there were long faces. The saving grace of this ship is the cabin attendants, waiters and waitresses and bar staff whom we tipped generously. Finally would we sail with NCL again....NO NO Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
first let me just say this is a personal opinion of the epic cruise. we booked through virgin cruises which was a mistake poor interaction from them led to us getting our cruise/flight tickets 2 days before departure,after a long drive ... Read More
first let me just say this is a personal opinion of the epic cruise. we booked through virgin cruises which was a mistake poor interaction from them led to us getting our cruise/flight tickets 2 days before departure,after a long drive we stayed at the turret hotel in horley for the night and left the car there for the week, if anyone wants a place to stay before flying out of gatwick this is it, £75 for b and b and car parking for the week flights were with easyjet and they were great,transfer by virgin [well we will not say no more]. boarding the epic was painless and quick with boarding at 2pm we went straight to our cabin a inside backing on to the singles rooms on deck 11, no problems were found the room was spotlessly clean and smelt fresh, having eventually finding the plug sockets and looking around,our cases had arrived 30 mins after boarding excellent work by the stewards. the room was quirky with the shower curtain but caused us no problems at all food on the ship was good to great we ate in the garden cafe every morning only thing wrong here was the repetitive things for breakfast but you can't help that. we ate most evenings in taste we we found to be better than Manhattan but there wasn't anything wrong with the Manhattan restaurant we did have a splendid meal with some very good friends in the Italian restaurant on the last night entertainment!!!!! blue man group very good and entertaining. fat cats was very good and on the whole the entertainment was of a high standard. yes there is smoke from the casino but wasn't off putting the casino is large and took up alot of room. pictures. if you wanted your photo taking there was many places to have it done but was never pressurised into having it taken, a polite no and they understood.the staff and stewards were all fantastic and could not fault in anyway a special mention to our steward sorry didn't catch his name but room 11093 we were in. the pools on this ship are stupidly small for the amount of passengers on board. but on the whole the ship ticked all the right boxes. we had a little group of eight of us from the greet and meet forum doing the tours and must say we had a great time.a special mention to :your tours in Italy; ,first class service and at less than 50% of the cruise ship prices well done Aldo and colleagues so that's a personal opinion of the epic some may agree some may not.would we go on the epic again?don't think so only because there's so many other ship to try but loved the freestyle aspect Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
on arrival at the port the first sighting of the ship was amazing and a little intimidating, check in was very fast and efficient and rooms were ready on arrival at midday. Had read mixed reviews about the staterooms and would not want to ... Read More
on arrival at the port the first sighting of the ship was amazing and a little intimidating, check in was very fast and efficient and rooms were ready on arrival at midday. Had read mixed reviews about the staterooms and would not want to have to share with a third person, that being said they are clean comfortable and perfectly adequate but being able to step out on to a balcony made a big difference. The ship itself although huge its very easy to find your way around and everything is very clearly signposted. The staff are all very helpful and service was excellent. Food and choice of was excellent as were the restaurants. Would recommend booking entertainment and speciality restaurants before you go. despite a large number of people on board the only place that it felt a little crowded was the buffet. All in ship is beautiful and a wonderful experience Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Good Points Embarkation and Disembarkation very easy and quick. Despite many comments food was good. Taste and Manhattan Suite did tend to copy menus each day. Irish bar very good for traditional pub lunch. Went to Teppanyaki and it ... Read More
Good Points Embarkation and Disembarkation very easy and quick. Despite many comments food was good. Taste and Manhattan Suite did tend to copy menus each day. Irish bar very good for traditional pub lunch. Went to Teppanyaki and it was OK but we went free and not sure I would have paid for it. Entertainment not good for standard of ship. Blue Man Group OK but not everyones taste. Beatles tribute bank OK. Slam Allen Blues band excellent. Los Locos excellent. Duo in middle area very good. Crew were friendly enough and helpful. Bad Points Cabin is worst design ever seen. Wave effect just makes moving about difficult. Cant imagine what the cabin would be like with more than two people sharing.Two people cant pass each other. Hated the glass toilet and shower which was talking point for most people we met and comments all negative. Too many pay to attend Restaurants on ship. Outnumber complementary dining. Also you had to pay for coffee in restaurants? You feel like you are being constantly bombarded with requests to take your money from you. Sale of cheap watches, poor quality tee-shirts etc etc. Prices at bars fairly high. Twelve dollars per day per person service charge is higher than other ships we have been on especially as you also pay for children over three.They then hit you with another 15% gratuity charge at the bars plus 1% tax. I'm not mean but come on. We did not take any excursions or port transfers as they were ridiculously priced. We paid half on a previous cruise on what Norwegian wanted to go to Rome for the day. Entertainment was overall poor. No real main show each night. Legends in Concert was poor. Motown tribute poor especially as I love Motown. Comedy/Impressionist was not funny and could not do impressions, also all American characters. In the mornings breakfast was like a scrum and difficult to find a table. Also had to wait at night for a table in Manhattan Restaurant upto forty minutes. Norwegian Cruises not the same quality and standard as Royal Carribean. We sailed on Oasis of the Seas and never felt nthat the ship was crowded. The Norwegian Epic is always crowded every where you go. We enjoyed a better cruise and service on Island Star which sadly has now moved to Australia. We would not choose Norwegian Cruises again as there are much better available. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Getting there. We flew Easy Jet to Barcelona and stayed overnight in the city before embarkation. Easy Jet were great and their shuttle service to the city. The next morning we got a taxi to the docks which on the meter had 16 euros ... Read More
Getting there. We flew Easy Jet to Barcelona and stayed overnight in the city before embarkation. Easy Jet were great and their shuttle service to the city. The next morning we got a taxi to the docks which on the meter had 16 euros on it when we got to the ship, then a button was pressed and it went to 28 euros. Beware! Talk to the hotel before getting in the cab, these rip offs do happen. Embarkation Quick and hassle free, we were onboard in less than 30 mins after getting to the docks. Things to do at first Your bags are delivered to your room for you and rooms on the day we embarked were not available until 2, we embarked at 12, but there is plenty to see and do. The Garden Cafe is worth a visit for your first onboard meal and as its on deck 15 the views are incredible. Dont worry about the hand sanitiser, you get used to it and end up thinking what a good idea it is! Cabins Outstanding, amazing, brilliant. We had balcony cabin which had everything we needed and then some, there is more than enough storage space that we only partly filled, there is a TV in (with limited English channels)coffee machine (always well stocked and free) mini bar (sadly not free) small sink, massive shower and ample toilet. The glass door on the toilet isnt a problem, the glass is opaque and unless you're a perv and put you're nose to the glass you cant be seen! The bed is huge and sooooooo comfortable, the bed linen was really good quality and its one thing we wanted to bring home! The balcony was plenty big enough and we wouldnt cruise again without one, top tip, dont run out onto the balcony naked in port....... Dining I would love to speak to the people who have given the ship negative reviews for dining, we couldnt fault it and ate different things every day from the huge variety of resturants. All the food was first class, well presented and if served was done in a professional and polite manner. We failed to get around all the resturants in a week and regretted having to re learn how to cook when we got back. Staff The staff were all helpful and poliet, there was none of the hard sell we have read about, nothing was too much trouble. I needed a sharps box and one was delivered to the room in minutes and a broken light was fixed as soon as we mentioned it. Our cabin steward was omni-present and clean the cabin to a high standard. When you go out in the evening make sure you put 'turn down the room' on the door, you come back to a great towel animal on the bed and a different one every night. Entertainment Brilliant! Circus De-Soleil, this was well worth the extra for the meal, how they managed to do so much in such a small area is incredible, ladies look out for the man in the bath! Blue Man Group, this was incredible, if you do one thing onboard in the evening go and see this! Legends in Concert, this was good, the Whitney Houston was the best. Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club, we went here several times, Slam Allen is fantastic and there is a great atmosphere. Bliss lounge is worth a visit in the evenings and pool playing when its a bit rough is recommended as it adds a new elemment to the game! Excursions We did three; Florence on your own. You need a full day here, it is the most beautiful city and some of the buildings are just too pretty to describe. Well worth the coach trip and it is small enough to wander around on your own. Rome and the Colosseum. This was a guided trip that went to the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, the Coloessum and the Vatican and was really busy, too much for the day, it was a whistle stop tour really. Toilet stops are limited in some 'interesting' toilets, one gripe, shopping. At the end of the tour your are taken to a gift shop that is over priced and there is only 20 mins to buy stuff before the coach leaves and the shop was packed. Leisurely Sorrento. Not worth the trip, we have 1 hour and 35 mins in the town which is the most beautiful place but with such limited time you hardly have chance to get out of the main square. Palma. we just went shopping in Palma, it is nice city but was raining so much better to shelter in C&A! Gripes The gripes were have are not many and are small however; when we were out and around the ship there were no rubbish bins and you have to carry your rubbish with you. No music in the cabin and no radio, this would have been nice, the price of bottle water on the ship is really high $5 a bottle (1L) buy this ashore. The casino, neither myself or my fiancee wanted to gamble big but did fancy a quick flutter, we were told we could only gamble if we had dollars or spent $100 on or room card, this was too steep. Shopping was geared to the americans onbard and NCL are missing a trick here, the prices in the shops were expensive by European standards and there were a lot of Europeans onboard. Disembarkation. We did self disembarkation and this was a breeze, you just walk off and in our case got a bus into town for 3 euros each. We can honestly say we were sad to leave, the ship, the cabin, the food, the entertainment and the staff were all top notch. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have now completed 5 cruises, all with NCL and have always enjoyed the Freestyle cruising they offer. However, this was to be our first cruise with our daughter (14 months old) and the first not to have left from an USA port, so we were ... Read More
We have now completed 5 cruises, all with NCL and have always enjoyed the Freestyle cruising they offer. However, this was to be our first cruise with our daughter (14 months old) and the first not to have left from an USA port, so we were nervous with anticipation. We chose this cruise because we were keen to go on the Epic and try the Med for the first time. The Plus Points: 1. The embarkation and disembarkation was the quickest and smoothest process ever. Very slick and no fuss. 2. The ship is beautiful and clean and the army of staff are always on hand to keep it so. 3. The food was always excellent, although we generally ate in the Garden Cafe (buffet) with our baby. Great choice and hot. 4. The Nickleodean At Sea was excellent and the staff worked very hard to include all the children in this. The Minus Points: 1. The lifts are horrendously busy at all times. We don't usually use them, but had little choice with the stroller. 2. Pools very small and have splashing water at all times coming from water features. 3. The shore excursions were extortinate. The Ultimate Rome trip was $400pp and a helicopter trip was nearly $800! I have always found shore excursions to be more expensive than independent travel but these prices were ridiculous. My Personal Foibles: 1. The ship is so big that it felt very impersonal. We rarely saw the Cruise Director and never heard the Captain address the ship. 2. Having to book seats to see shows meant that you felt obliged to attend (although there was no charge to do so, you still had to go to the box office to book in) 3. There was no view from the front or the rear of the ship, with the jogging and walking tracks being on one side of the ship only, doing circular laps next to the lifeboats, with no overboard views at all. And on the jogging side, the smell from one of the kitchens was very overpowering/bad. This was very hard when we had to use the track to wheel the baby round to try and settle for sleep. 4. There were no quiet bars or areas. Altough it was never my intention to stay up late with the baby, once she had fell asleep (usually by around 22.00h) I had to take her back to the cabin because all public areas were crowded, noisy and unsuitable for little ones. All in all, it was probably more underwhelming than disappointing, but we will cruise again and I'm not entirely off NCL either. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My son and I disembarked from the Epic only yesterday and I'm reviewing it while it's all fresh in my mind. We booked through a travel agent over a year ago so that we could pay over a long period of time and save up some ... Read More
My son and I disembarked from the Epic only yesterday and I'm reviewing it while it's all fresh in my mind. We booked through a travel agent over a year ago so that we could pay over a long period of time and save up some spending money too, and this worked well for us. The Epic, as has been noted before, is immense. It was fully occupied last week and I was surprised to learn that there were only 600 Americans on board. There seemed to be a lot from the UK but I'm fairly sure that "other European" made up the biggest proportion of guests. This, in my view, changed the dynamics on the ship as Spanish seemed to be the first language and I'm sure we would have got chatting to a lot more people in other circumstances. We had an inside cabin which was very comfortable and suited us very well - the bathroom / curtain arrangement worked for us and we didn't have a problem with the basin! Storage space was plentiful and, with the twin bed arrangement, we had lots of room to move. One comment I would make, and it's not a complaint but an observation, is that although there are many light fittings, they were mostly low wattage and inadequate for things like putting on makeup. I probably went out looking like a drag queen occasionally... The shower was great, there was always hot water, and we didn't require the use of air fresheners (!) because the air conditioning was very efficient. My son used the kids crew tweens section and enjoyed most of the activities although he said they got shouted at a lot for being too noisy. That didn't stop him going back although he avoided the PJ party. Being a tween he was able to sign himself in and out (for a minimum of 2 hours) which was great from both our points of view. We were booked to see both the Blue Man Group and the Cirque Dreams and Dinner, and I ended up going to both on my own. The Blue Man Group were amazing, as expected - we tried to book again at a time which didn't clash with some important tween activity, but they got fully booked very quickly. The Cirque was even better - I was seated on the balcony and I'm sure there's a better view from the cheap seats. The food was pretty good in my opinion although I'm aware that they've changed the menu (as well as the show) since the first reviews which slated it. We also went to a Slime Time Live performance which was greatly enjoyed by my son. We saw a few other Nickleodeon events - Nick Live by the pool and a couple of meet and greets elsewhere - there was more Nickleodeon presence on the ship than I had imagined there would be, which was great for the kids. My son also went bowling with a group of other lads, and spent time in the video arcade where he ran up his part of the bill! He also made use of the climbing wall, spiders web and sports court. Unfortunately the bungee trampoline thing was out of action the week we were there. We didn't use all the facilities on the ship by any means. Most of our time was spent by the pool. On sea days the sunbeds were crowded but we always managed to find at least one. On the second sea day a member of staff came round squirting mists of water on those who were sitting in the sun which was very welcome. The pools were small and got crowded too, but unless you were wanting to swim laps this wasn't a problem - they were great for just cooling down in. The green and purple flumes were pitch black inside, which I wasn't expecting, which was a bit unnerving in the green one at least, which twisted more. The Epic Plunge was great fun! There were queues on sea days but you didn't have to wait too long on port days. We weren't very adventurous in our choice of restaurants, eating mostly in the buffet, twice in Taste and once in O'Sheehans. All the food was of a very high standard, in my opinion. Of particular note were the scrambled eggs at breakfast, the garlic mushrooms in Taste, and the cookies which were available at the outside buffet by the pool in the afternoons. I tried the buffalo wings in O'Sheehans which I had read rave reviews about elsewhere, and they were ok but nothing to write home about! I also sampled all the cocktails of the day (my bar bill was our biggest expense other than the excursion...) except the one involving ginger beer, and all were fabulous! The bar staff at the Waves bar by the pool deserve mention for their cheeriness. We stayed on board at most of the ports, going on only one excursion at Naples, to climb Vesuvius and visit Pompeii. This was all very well arranged and executed. Our guide was a lovely Italian lady who referred to us all as her children and was a mine of information. The climb was hot and sticky but not as bad as we had anticipated and the views at the top were worth the effort. Pompeii was hot and busy - but again not as bad as we had thought it might be. I'd always wanted to go there and it was amazing. I'd read loads of comments about "too hot" and "no shade" and can only imagine that they went to different areas than us, as there was plenty of shade if you looked for it, plus a number of taps/troughs where you could rub water up your arms etc to cool down if necessary. To summarise, we had a great time. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat if I could afford too but, as it was a very expensive holiday for us, it won't happen again for a long while! We kept within our budget easily - you don't have to spend money on the ship if you don't want to. We didn't feel that we were missing out by not eating in the restaurants with cover charges, nor by not having a balcony. Water and ice were always available, as were tea and coffee, and juice was available most of the morning by the pool too. It's not a budget holiday option by any means, but it doesn't need to break the bank either. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Having sailed with NCL twice before we were really looking forward to the Epic, expecting bigger and better than the ships we'd been on before. Embarkation at Barcelona was quick and easy and our stateroom was ready almost ... Read More
Having sailed with NCL twice before we were really looking forward to the Epic, expecting bigger and better than the ships we'd been on before. Embarkation at Barcelona was quick and easy and our stateroom was ready almost immediately. The room was very clean and contained everything we needed, although in order to cram in as many cabins as possible NCL have given them the minimum amount of space. As always, we found the dining options, service, public areas and entertainment to be of a very high standard, although I would recommend booking for the Blue Man Group before you go to be sure of getting in. We choose NCL because of the Freestyle dining and on this trip we visited four of the 'speciality' restaurants and enjoyed each one, especially the Tappenyaki which is great fun. What we didn't enjoy on this cruise was the extortionate cost of drinks and services e.g. $36 for an average bottle of wine and $25 for a spinning class in the fitness centre. Don't even get me started on the price of excursions! Our experience of cruising has taught us that prices are higher than normal, having a captive audience appears to give them licence to charge whatever they want to but such high costs and the addition of 18% gratutity on everything you purchase (on top of the $12 per person per day service charge) is forcing us to consider whether the overall cost of cruising with NCL is really worth the money. This is such a shame as we have receommended this cruise line to lots of people and continue to believe that their format is a winnner but we object to being ripped off! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We chose the Norwegian Epic at the end of her Mediterranean season for a reason. We thought the ship which holds 4100 guests would be less crowded, we thought the weather would be cool, and we wanted to experience free-style cruising on ... Read More
We chose the Norwegian Epic at the end of her Mediterranean season for a reason. We thought the ship which holds 4100 guests would be less crowded, we thought the weather would be cool, and we wanted to experience free-style cruising on NCL's newest ship. We were spot on with our choice, and many features of the ship suited us. That said, I am not sure I would pick the same ship again, just because I would like to experience another ship. That said, the highlights of our trip wete the shore excursions, which we thought were both excellent and good value. We booked 3 excursions through NCL and they were quite different. Two were prebooked, and we booked one on board. Our first stop was Livorno, and we booked LIVF8411 Florence and Pisa on your own. We booked this on board when we realised how far away from the port these cities were. Basically NCL provided a bus and a guide who delivered us to the city centre and left us alone. Most people seemed to head straight for the market in Florence I assume to buy leather goods. My husband and I had a great time exploring, getting lost, and then having a lovely authentic lunch. We did not get inside the Uffizi or any of the other museums because the lines to get in were simply too long. The 3 hours we rambled around the city were just long enough to admire the architecture and take lots of pictures. We then rejoined the group and we were taken to see Pisa, the leaning tower, the catedral and the baptistry. Since we only had 40 minutes here, again there really wasnt a lot of time to get inside the buildings. I didn't see this as a disadvantage having read up on the different buildings etc. in advance. There was an opportunity to shop for souvenirs before boarding the bus, or to have a beer or drink if that was more important. Since seeing Rome and the Vatican was our top priority we booked CIVF6211 Ultimate Rome which was a guided tour. It was important to us not to have to wait in line for tickets and to actually be able to get inside the Sistene Chapel, the Colloseum and the Pantheon. It was a pricey tour, but it was worth it. What made the tour was the tour guide Allesandro, he was very experienced and knowledgeable and he made ancient Rome come alive for us. One tip, if you want to shop in Rome this is not the tour for you, we barely had time to get lunch there was so much to see, and the only shopping opportunity was to get religious artifacts at one of NCL's approved shops. The next day we took another pre-booked tour NAPF511 which was the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We were worried about walking since our feet were still tired from Rome, but the morning was spent on the bus looking at some of the most scenic coastline in the world. We stopped at a little town and could get souvenirs etc. All my souvenirs were edible, since I love to cook. Lunch was provided on this tour, and it was excellent. We stopped at a little restaurant where we had an Italian meal with wine. This was the only real opportunity we got to talk with other people in our group of 32. Then we went to Pompeii, which I found extremely interesting. It was quite a bit of walking over uneven ground, but it was worth it. After the tour we stopped at the cameo factory, which I guess is another NCL approved store, but there were lots of stalls where you could buy stuff including limoncello. I must say that the sellers were not pushy at all, and I didn't feel pressured to buy anything. The last port on the cruise was La Palma. We took the GoGo bus and did an hour and a half tour of the city for E15 each. This was as much as we had the energy for, although we did walk around the big shopping centre Porto Pi for a while. All in all we were very happy with our choices and would not have changed a thing about them. In conclusion, here are some things which we were pleased with. We had a full day in Barcelona before the cruise started and stayed at Hotel Mont Blanc. This is an NCL affliated hotel and transfers to the ship were included. It was close to La Ramblas so we could do a bit of exploring. If I had to do it again I would take the GoGo bus and have a good view of the city. We liked our room on the Epic. Having been married almost 40 years the translucent shower and toilet area didn't bother us at all. The bed was great, big and comfortable with lots of pillows. We had neither a porthole or a balcony and it didnt bother us in the least, since we only stayed in the room to sleep. We did not feel the motion of the ship, We tried both dining rooms, the Manhattan Room and Taste. The menu was limited, and I did not enjoy either. We ate at the Irish place, O'Sheenan's but mostly breakfast since they open at 5:30am and we are early risers. The best food was in the Garden Cafe,a lot of variety. Blue Man Group was passable, Legends with Shakira, Elton John and Whitney Houston could have been missed. There were lots of things to do on board. I was sorry I hadn't done the tour of the ship offered on the first day, because 7 days later I was still getting lost. Embarkation and disembarkation were very easy, The staff were very friendly. I got fed up with my hands being sprayed at every meal, but I understood why. Take your own bathroom products! The stuff in the shower and next to the basis is AWFUL! The bathroom signage on the whole ship is poor, they seem to be tucked away. The casino is big, and it was not crowded. Yes, its smoky. The window seats in the casino are great places to sit and watch the ship enter and leave a port with a glass of wine, and not on a cold and windy deck, thank you! I can see where people could spend a lot more on board than they budgetted for, everything costs money and usually double or triple what you would pay on shore. We were careful, but then we have simple tastes. So it was a good experience, not a great experience, but worth what we paid for it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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