22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings ... Read More
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings waters supply. Totaly terrible services the dinnig room foods were not foods just junkies . Terrible and horrible services . THe ship were gay desert queen just not foe family . Lousy shows its needs to be up graded or changes . the vendors macines were not working for the whole trips no one care about that .Foods services on the ship were just not not enough to eat . JUst terrible and horrible . I would not recommended anyoe to go on board for just a horrible ship. . By the wat in board the ship announced FREE bout it was not everythings needs to pay .The entrtainments just horrible noy na good shows to terrible shows for everyonre. Noe I found a good way to expressed myslf to everyone who like Western Med regions , Please don't go to Norweegian Epic that all.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate ... Read More
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate just fine! As a solo traveller I was in the studio cabins and I was super happy with my room and the solo lounge. Our coordinator Ruby did a great job of bringing us together and although I didn’t see the entire group every night I had a base of friends I could spend my time with each night. My only recommendation is that dinner was too early at 6pm after a long day of excursion where I would literally arrive at 5:30. The excursions were amazing and well worth the price, I had some great tour guides which made the experience for me. The ship was beautiful and my favourite locations were Maltings Bar, older crowd and great drinks by Joseph! Shakers had amazing martinis and O’Sheehans was good for a late night snack or breakfast on the way to my excursion. In terms of food, I would say it was good not great and my favourite dinner location was The Manhattan Room and Cagney’s was great for a steak if you have the specialty restaurant package or just want to splurge was well worth it! Overall I had an amazing experience, met some great people and will definitely cruise again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the NCL Epic. What a great cruise. Started in Barcelona and did a week hitting Italy, France, and Spain. Few notes... The Ship: Hands down one of the best ship I have sailed on. The Epic has ... Read More
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the NCL Epic. What a great cruise. Started in Barcelona and did a week hitting Italy, France, and Spain. Few notes... The Ship: Hands down one of the best ship I have sailed on. The Epic has everything for everyone. --The service is top notch with the Hotel Director Nelson on top of everything. Nelson is very visible all the time. Many times I saw him helping people, inspecting the food venues, and talking to guests. He is very approachable and like to interact with the guests to make sure everyone is having a great holiday. His assistant Agatha contributes alot and is also very visible. With over 4,000 guests, they stay very busy, and truly care about your experience. Hats off to NCL for hiring the best in the business for there fleet. Definitely, sets them apart from the competitors. --The Entertainment: Great shows including the "Priscilla queen of the desert". The shows are just like what you expect from Broadway productions. Also, the Circus dinner was fantastic. Amazing to the the talent that is on the boat. You definitely got to attend. Casio is very big. I think one of the biggest at sea. Very friendly staff with all the table games you want. The themed parties are great too. NCL has a white party that is real cool. Its held in the back of the ship in an open air venue. Live music is always playing. --The Food/Drink: One of, if not, the best food and beverage program at sea. Plenty of options including a complementary Chinese restaurant (we ate there twice). The Carney's steakhouse was excellent. Just what you expect with the same quality as Capital Grill or Morton's. This was my favorite restaurant. The buffet has everything you can think of with great hours. We didnt do room service but it had an extensive menu. The beverage package is the best deal in town. Open bar was a great value that offered an amazing selection and fast and friendly service. I would strongly recommend you getting the package. Plus, its nice when you are with a group not having a tab. --The Ports: The ports are great. My favorite was Barcelona and Palma. Ship is docked right in the middle of the action and plenty to see. We also stopped in Cannes and took the train to Monaco. It was very easy and nice to see. Rome is a little tricky to get to. Its about 45 min from the port. Need to leave early to enjoy the day. Naples has great pizza and nice shopping. Over all this was one of my favorite cruises that I took. I have been on all the big lines like Royal, Carnival, and Princess. I really think that NCL is the best not only for service but for value. They don't nickle and dime you and the staff are amazing. Would recommend you try the specialty restaurants. Looking forward to our next sail. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this cruise due to being able to board in Barcelona ( half an hour flight) and the fact that the ship has studio cabins. Embarkation was extremely well organised and I was on board by midday, everyone was welcoming and ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to being able to board in Barcelona ( half an hour flight) and the fact that the ship has studio cabins. Embarkation was extremely well organised and I was on board by midday, everyone was welcoming and friendly. I was astonished by the size of the ship! I headed straight for some lunch at O'Sheehans the off to the pool deck for a Mojito. By about 1.30 it was announced that the staterooms were ready, so went off in search of my studio on deck 11. I found it quite easily and found it to be perfect for my needs, it was well presented apart from the carpet not having been vacuumed and previous occupants shoes under the bed! No big deal, I was just so excited to be on board! The studio area is key card accessed and there is a private lounge which I didn't really use but ideal for single travellers to meet up. This was a week to find out whether or not I would enjoy a cruise so didn't take any shore excursions other than Naples and Cannes which I did on my own. I just loved being on the ship! I found the food to be excellent, I ate mainly in the Garden Cafe, there was loads of choice and themed nights at dinner, I always enjoyed breakfast at the Great Outdoors area, lovely friendly staff and fab omelettes cooked to order. I enjoyed a meal at Shanghai's, didn't try Taste or Manhattan, next time! I really enjoyed the bars, I met lots of lovely people from all over the world, I didn't feel the need to do any of the activities organised for solo travellers as I am happy meeting people on my own. Entertainment was great, always something going on and some thing for everyone, again I always met new friends and had a great time! Priscilla and Burn the Floor were fantastic! As a solo traveller I had an amazing time and met some wonderful people, often dining with new found friends, a fantastic week .. in fact I loved it so much that I have already booked the same ship, same cabin for the Transatlantic cruise to Florida in November 2018! Only tiny niggles were the service at Waves pool bar. . a long wait.. and my cabin nevery did get vacuumed. But I had an amazing week! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Hi - this was my first ever cruise and I did not know what to expect - if the chaotic boarding at Barcelona was anything to go by I was concerned. However the cruise was absolutely excellent yes it was busy / full however the H2O area ... Read More
Hi - this was my first ever cruise and I did not know what to expect - if the chaotic boarding at Barcelona was anything to go by I was concerned. However the cruise was absolutely excellent yes it was busy / full however the H2O area at the back of the ship was mostly child free, the food and the service was excellent along with the entertainment - the solo team especially enjoyed the Howl at the Moon Piano bar. Contrary to the previous review I never realized that there was up and down elevators - we tended to use the stairs for a bit of exercise and when we did use the elevators never seemed to have a problem with people going up one floor in order to come back down! During the port days the vessel became very empty and you could eat anywhere, likewise in the evening with a group of 13 people we has no problems in finding a restaurant to accommodate us. My only comment was that the music in the H20 and Bliss was nearly all Spanish. I booked the use of the thermal suite which allowed me to get away from the main ship and relax in the afternoon - this was well worth the £90 I payed. The Studio lounge was excellent and the Studio bedroom was also good however I mad the mistake of having an inter-connecting door - which meant I could here the person next door having a shower at 3am!! The main pool area was busy however it is a child friendly ship - if you wanted to move out of the hustle and bustle of the main pool area there was loads of available space and only once did I think "boy this is busy". The drinks in the deck bars were pre-made and this was mainly the cocktails of the day and a few other std drinks apart from that everything I drank was fresh (and I drank a lot). Bar service could be a bit slow however the staff were very good at spotting "Que" jumpers and were very chatty. The disembarkation in Barcelona was a disappointment - we were kicked off at 6am having been told on the Friday - this could have waited until the Saturday - our holiday was not over!!!! - I was in the airport at 7 for a flight at 12:30!! I was also disappointed at the way some people treated the staff - any excuse to moan then they did but the crew worked very hard - I am thinking of going on this boat again when she goes to the Caribbean. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Let me start out first by saying that I'm a very seasoned cruiser. Nearly 100 days of traveling on various cruise lines on the high seas. Although this boat was rated as 1# for honeymooners, there's a catch and I will reveal the ... Read More
Let me start out first by saying that I'm a very seasoned cruiser. Nearly 100 days of traveling on various cruise lines on the high seas. Although this boat was rated as 1# for honeymooners, there's a catch and I will reveal the notes I've taken while cruising on my honeymoon. The boat looks amazing from the inside and outside. The decor is top notch and the ship is very clean, but that's really where it all ends. My wife and I are in our mid 40's and enjoy our down time as well as a night out dancing. We approached this cruise like any other. We purchased the drink package expecting to party it down with some drinks beside the pool and listen to some live music. Well, that isn't allowed on the Epic. 1) No drinks in our around the pool 2) The pool area is considered a quiet zone. (as stated to me by the DJ) 3) You have two VERY small pools (10x30) to choose from but can only hold about 25 guest before it's too crowded 4)Forget trying to get a drink. There's only 1 pool bar about 30 ft long with only 4 bartenders and you rarley seecocktails waitresses around the pool. 5) Get ready for extreme whistle blowing from the lifeguard. Every wrong move by any one of the 500 kids on board and he blow his whistle. We went out our first night to explore the ship. We wanted to dance to some current music and have a drink at the bar. 1) There are NO night clubs on the boat unless you're under 17 We then walked around and expected to find the Theater with stdium seating allowing a couple thousand cruisers to see broadway shows. 1) The theater does not exist We really enjoy dressing up on formal nights, seeing everyone in their best, taking pictures and meeting other guests at the dinner table. 1) There are no formal nights and only 2 backdrops for pictures. 2) No assigned seating and you must make reservations for dining or wait 45min for a table. We often inquired about locations on the boat or general facts about the boat 1) The staff seemed very short with most people and often cut you off before you're done. Maybe they've been asked teh same question a 1000 times but not by me. We decided to go see a show 1) Get ready to PAY for onboard shows. $35 - $100 2) Don't do the Cirque show, you can't see the enitire show unless you buy the $100 tickets. 3) We went to the dueling pianos and had an amazing time. THAT was our saving grace. We wanted to get off the boat in Florence but the local port authority charged $5 euro to take you to town. We went back on the boat to get Euro's but find that the boat only provided US dollars but you can reserve trasnportation with the boat to town for triple the cost ($16) or they will drop you off in Florance take you back to the boat for $100 per person. We didn't go into Florence :-( We then decided to purchase something from the on board store. 1) Although they only provide US dollars you pay 21% take in all their stores. Doing your own laundry 1) Does not exist, they do not have a laundry department but a pair of socks (no joke) is $3 We chose not to take an excursion 1)The cost of the excursions were 30% - 40% higher than I've ever seen on any boat. Would you like to stay out late one night? 1) 99% of the boat shuts down at midnight. If you don't like gambling or and irish bar, then go to bed. Don't order room service 1) You're charge $8 service charge for room service no matter what you order AND yo're charged 18% more for gratuity. YES, they charge you gratuity on the service charge. Do you prefer Coke over Pepsi? 1) Forget it Only Pepsi aboard Where's the midnight buffet? 1) Does not exist I could go on but you get the idea but you still ask, how could this be the 1# rated ship for honeymooners? It's the ports you visit NOT THE SHIP. My only advise would be to spend money on nice meals on the boat and spend even more money enjoying Europe off the boat. Don't purchase excursions from the ship, they are 75% less of the boat and you're very safe to travel in groups. We used the ship as an expensive place to sleep, walked off the boat only owing them $300 (We normally own $1000 - $1500). the ports are amazing and we really enjoyed ourselves. We hope this helps Brian and Michelle Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; ... Read More
This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; much larger and more extravagant on the inside. Very detailed, many places to eat, really good layout. We had a few issues on board. For starters, we found out days later that our steward was supposed to come to our room to introduce himself and show us around our room, how everything worked. That never happened. 7 days on the ship and never met him. We also had issues receiving our tickets for our shore excursions. We booked all three of our excursions with Norwegian, and every single time, we had to go downstairs to the excursion desk to get copies of our tickets, as our steward could never bring them to our room on time. We actually never got our tickets for our last excursion. We had to get a pamphlet with the shore excursion meeting times and show up extra early to make sure some staff there could go get our tickets. The first shore excursion we had we got our tickets at the desk, and then the day of the excursion, after we had returned back to the ship, our tickets were waiting for us there. What the point of that was, I have no idea. Really made it frustrating that we didn't have our tickets waiting in our room, ever. Always had to make time to visit the desk, wait in line, and wait for our ticket copies. Another issue we had was with the staff. One night, my friend and I were having a late night snack at O'Sheenan's and some random drunk guy sat out our table trying to hit on us. We got really uncomfortable when he wouldn't leave, so we called over a staff member to get him to escort him away. The staff member got really offended because he thought we had called him over with our middle finger (why anyone would do that, I have no idea), and gave us a lecture on how that was very rude and offensive before we could even ask him to take the man away. Once he had told the guy to leave, he once again scolded us on calling him over with our middle finger. Completely unnecessary. We're two girls, no need for that. Other than that encounter with the staff, everyone else was excellent. We made a lot of friends with staff from different places who worked in different parts of the ship, and it was nice to run into them again days later and have them remember us, our names, and how they had met us. They gave great recommendations and were cool to hang out with. We met some really wonderful people that worked on board. We got an interior cabin room, so no windows. It kind of sucked because we never knew when it was light out or dark out. It really threw us off. Sometimes we would walk up to the deck and be shocked that it was still light out. Our fault, for not spending a little more money on a room with a window. Definitely recommend! It's worth it. Our room was very cramped and small. Often, my friend and I had to walk around each other when we were doing our hair or our makeup, or trying to change our clothes or pack. The layout of the room is a little weird, with the bathroom and shower at the entrance of the room and the sink on the dresser area. Didn't bother us much. You can control the temperature of the room, which was great. There's also American and European outlets in the rooms. Two American, so we had no need for the European ones. Worked out perfectly fine. The bed was always clean and very comfortable to sleep in. Had no problems. Despite us never getting our tickets on time or meeting our steward, he always cleaned our room twice a day, much appreciated. I will say the lighting sucks in there. Too many buttons for lighting in different areas, which is fine, but it was still so dim and dark with all the lights on. Made it very hard to see our makeup accurately. A small thing, but kind of important for us girls! Dining was excellent. We always had dinner at The Manhattan, and hardly ever were we disappointed. I think there was maybe one night where we weren't fans of what we ordered, but they nailed almost everything else. I will say, they can't seem to get dessert right. It always fell short of my expectations. The creme brulee was delicious, definitely try that! Staff was very sweet and always made sure to seat us near a window. They started to recognize us as the girls who wanted dinner with a view, so at one point we didn't even have to ask anymore. They also sat us right next to the dance floor one night when there was a show happening, which was very kind of them. We had the best seats! Buffet was also pretty good, I especially liked the Asian food offered and the salad selection. Only ate there once, on the first day. O'Sheenan's had great breakfast, although I definitely preferred Taste for breakfast. Ate at Taste almost every morning before getting off the ship, and they were always accommodating when we told them we were in a rush because we had to meet for a tour. I have one very strong complaint about pricing on the ship. My friend and I only traveled with carry-on luggage, so we had no room for sunblock or aloe which was much needed after so many days in the sun. We went to the gift shop only to find out that for one regular sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and aloe, it was going to cost us $36!! $18 each for a brand I know very well is sold for around $10 literally anywhere else. What a ripoff. I understand cruises up-charge, but that was ridiculously expensive and we refused to purchase. **Here's a little tip**: Guest Services sells the exact same products for $15 each, only when the gift shop is closed. Get your stuff there. Still expensive, but at least not as bad. They also have tooth paste and tanning oil. Avoid the gift shop at all costs. They do, however, only have a limited amount, so don't wait until the end of the trip to go stock up. Get it early on, or wait until you're at a port that sells sunblock right off the ship. You'll find it for even cheaper, in euros, of course. As far as entertainment and activities go, there wasn't much to do that really interested us. Most of the time, we were exhausted after long days of walking at the port stops, so we simply had dinner and went to bed. We really did enjoy Burn the Floor, excellent show if you appreciate dancing. Book your reservation for that early, don't wait until you're on the ship because it will be sold out. Highly recommend watching! There are a lot of family-friendly activities for those of you traveling with kids. Family karaoke and a variety of games they play on the Guest Services level using the huge TV Screen. Very interactive and great for kids. My friend and I really enjoyed the parties at Spice H20, they were great! We especially loved the Glow Party and the 80s Themed Party. Bliss was also a great place to be after the parties ended at Spice H20. We also watched a magic show, but that was pretty underwhelming. Very basic card tricks that I've seen a million times, nothing out of this world. I was expecting something better after seeing Burn the Floor. On the Day at Sea, we chose to spend the day in the Thermal Suites. Highly recommend if you really want to unwind and relax! No kids, very quiet and peaceful. Never got too crowded. It's $48 per person for one day, and 100% worth the money. Everything was clean and luxurious. If your muscles are sore from all the walking, use the thermal pool water jets; they will cure you and you'll feel brand new. As I said earlier, all of our shore excursions were booked with Norwegian. Super overpriced, most of them, but well worth it. We did a shore excursion in Livorno, Palma, and Naples. In Livorno, we did the "Florence & Pisa on your own" excursion. We prefer to kind of do our own thing at the ports, so this was a great option for us. It's simply transportation in an air-conditioned bus (with WIFI!) and a tour guide who gives you a little bit of history on the bus ride and gives recommendations for places to visit. We had a wonderful time. No problems and got back to the ship on time, although Norwegian will always wait for you if you're running late and on a Norwegian shore excursion. My suggestion, do the Florence on your own excursion and skip Pisa. Pisa is very small and you need tickets to get into literally every building in the square. It wasn't spectacular to me. I could've done without it and would have much rather spent that one extra hour in Florence. There's a lot more to do, see, and eat in Florence and your time is better spent there. In Palma, we did another "on your own" type of excursion that simply transported us to and from Palmanova beach, which is supposed to be one of the nicest beaches on the island. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas to rent. You can rent one umbrella and two chairs for 15 euros. The beach itself wasn't anything out of this world, in my opinion. I kept wondering if maybe there were prettier beaches elsewhere. If there's a better tour available, maybe consider one of those. The water was green and kind of dirty, full of pieces of trash and other things. Still a nice, relaxing day. We also had the best sangria and tapas right across the street for super cheap, which made everything well worth it. But I have seen way better beaches elsewhere. We had no problems with people stealing our stuff, we comfortably left everything on our chairs while we were in the water. Be advised if you're traveling with kids, it's a nude beach! In Naples, we did the "Exclusive Amalfi Coast & Pompeii" excursion and although this left us bankrupt, we have no regrets. It was by far the best tour we did the entire week. The drive along the Amalfi coast was more than enough, but we also got an hour in Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii. Each was beautiful and one hour was enough time to grab a quick snack and do a little shopping. We even had time to make our way down the town in Positano and check out the beach. Lunch was at a restaurant overlooking the Amalfi coast, and it was a three-course meal with wine, prosecco, and coffee and dessert. Absolutely delicious. Tour included only around 12 people, so it was very intimate and way better than a huge tour of 40 people. I highly recommend this tour! We arrived in Rome three days prior to the cruise to spend a little more time there, and it was well worth it. I definitely recommend doing this if you're embarking in Rome or Barcelona. When we got off at the Barcelona stop, it was Sunday and most shops and restaurants were closed. It would have been nice to see the city more alive! Here are some other tips I've gathered after my trip and from talking to other cruises who didn't do as much research as we did prior to boarding: - Norwegian provides a bus service that takes you straight to the airport or the port, depending on whether you're arriving or leaving. Very expensive. From Rome, we went to Termini Station and took the train straight to the train station in Civitavecchia. It takes about an hour and five minutes, with multiple stops along the way. It will only cost you around 11 euros per person. Way more affordable and you get a beautiful scenic tour of the countryside along the way. From there, take a taxi straight to the port. It's 5 euros per person and it'll drop you off at the exact terminal. There's a bus as well, but it doesn't take you directly there. You have to walk to a square to reach the bus stop and then walk another 10-15 minutes to your terminal. To get to the airport, disembark the cruise and there is a free shuttle that takes you to a stop that is a ten minute walk away from the train station (same one you get off at to embark). Grab a ticket to FCO airport, get off at Trastevere and hop onto another train to reach FCO. Drops you off directly inside the airport. - If you use the trains in Italy, make sure to validate your ticket prior to getting on the train. They are little green machines that look like hand sanitizer dispensers. If you don't validate your ticket, you get fined. And they do check your tickets on board! - Cannes is VERY expensive and there's a lot of shopping to be done there. Make sure you have enough cash on you or a credit card. We didn't anticipate all the shopping we would do, so we ran out! - We were warned about a lot of pick-pocketting in Europe, but we felt very very safe everywhere we went. However, we were extra cautious and used locks on our purses. We attached the keys to a hair tie and wore that on our wrists. Nobody would ever know. You could also use a necklace. - You need tickets for the following places if you want to visit them: Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Galleria dell'Academia, all of Pisa, Vatican City, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Book them online in advance through the official websites, it is much cheaper and you get to skip all the lines. Vatican City offers a discount for students if you take your student ID, don't forget it! They do check when you get there. - On board, like I said, spend a little more money on a room with at least a window so you can figure out what time of day it is. Well worth it! - Book reservations for Burn the Floor in advance! It's the only show that sells out very quickly, because it's so good. - In Barcelona, USE THE METRO. Best way to get around, very cheap and definitely safe. You will be able to see everything. Do not use the hop on and hop off busses. They seem convenient, but they take FOREVER to get through all the stops. You won't be able to see everything if you use them. We made that mistake. Never again! Extremely long post/review, but hopefully some of you find this helpful if you're planning a future trip. I know I was very nervous traveling to Europe for the first time and I did a lot of research prior to, which I also recommend doing. Norwegian was a nice experience, but there were a few issues that really bothered us, as mentioned above. Would I go again? Definitely, but I think the next time I do Europe it'll be on land. It was a nice taste of different places, and now I know where I want to spend more time and what I want to do. It's a nice vacation for first-timers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I returned yet again to the Epic because I personally think all the Staff on board are outstanding. NCL seem to have the happiest people working for them on this particular ship. Since the cruise lines have introduced the "all ... Read More
I returned yet again to the Epic because I personally think all the Staff on board are outstanding. NCL seem to have the happiest people working for them on this particular ship. Since the cruise lines have introduced the "all inclusive packages" everyone seems to drink more and a lot of ships do not appear to have increased their staff ratio to allow for this. The Epic however, seem to have this right but more importantly the staff are all happy and seem to enjoy their jobs, which in turn makes happy customers. I book direct with NCL for all my cruise packages, after having a very bad experience with Virgin Cruises whose cruise package only "sometimes" include transfers. NCL know what the word service means and nothing seems to be too much trouble for them. I have tried a few other NCL ships but find the Epic the best for staff and best suited to me. I have also found that if you have a complaint and you take the time to speak to somebody they do their best to sort it out for you at the time. For example, when I collected my suitcase from the Port of Civitavecchia it had obviously been opened, I didn't speak to anybody at the time as had to line up for my transfer but as soon as I got home I sent them an e-mail so that they know what went on. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was my first cruise with Norwegian.I chose NCL cause this time i was travelling solo and NCL seemed to be the best choice.Also i like the freestyle concept of NCL,so i wanted to try them out. Embarkation wasn`t good.It took one ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Norwegian.I chose NCL cause this time i was travelling solo and NCL seemed to be the best choice.Also i like the freestyle concept of NCL,so i wanted to try them out. Embarkation wasn`t good.It took one hour to get on board ! At the beginning approx. 15 agents were available for checking in and getting my ship card.But suddenly several agents just went away and never came back.SO only 5 Agents were now serving the people and it took very long. The ship itself was also in very good condition.For me personally the design is a little bit confusing.It is not that easy to get along right away.Fortunately there are enough signs to show the way. The food overall was good.The buffet is a little bit more than average,nothing special.Quantity wasn`t that good, quality was Ok.The food in both the main dining restaurants was always very good.CHoice was good and qualtity always very good. The food in O`sheehans was Ok.Burger was average,fries ware bad,but the desert was very good. I was totally surpised about the number of available deck chairs even on sea day.In the sun there were always dozens of available chairs and even in the shade there were some available,although the ship was fully booked. The drinks in the bars were - for me - all a bit weak and quite small for the money. The entertainment was the best i`ve ever seen on any cruise ship ! Burn the floor is simply amazing ! But also the cavern club and Howl at the moon are really good.There is so much choice of excellent live music on board.... The only excoursion i booked via NCL was in Cannes.(Nizza and Eze)It was quite good,but too expensive.I generally think that the charges for NCL-excoursions are too high. The service was almost always good.Never had to wait too long to be asked for a drink in any bar or club or other venue.Especially the solo travellers host on my cruise(Crystle) was amazing ! I really enjoyed my cruise and i will definitely book with Norwegian again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Went with a single's group and had a great time on the Epic. I've been on the sister ship, the Getaway, and liked the Epic much better. The staff/waiters/bartenders were much friendlier, the bars were cooler and the atmosphere ... Read More
Went with a single's group and had a great time on the Epic. I've been on the sister ship, the Getaway, and liked the Epic much better. The staff/waiters/bartenders were much friendlier, the bars were cooler and the atmosphere was more laid back. Had a studio and we all loved the studio lounge and our bartender, Neli, was super nice, knew our names and the drinks we drank. The Med is a not your typical cruise as you are at port 6/7 days, so you aren't on the ship as much as you regularly are, but when you are the food is good, bars are hopping and there's something for everyone. We especially had a good time at the dueling piano bar as well as listening to Brenda Cochrane belt out Bette Midler tunes. Don't miss Le Bistro as it's a fab French restaurant, but you can skip Cagney's as you can get prime rib in the main dining room for free. The Manhatten Room (main dining) takes about 2 1/2 hours to eat dinner, so if you want, go to Taste (free and same food) for 1/2 the time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Choose the cruise because it had some single people going. Room was OK, but the studio lounge was not inviting at all. I did enjoy the freedom to dine when and where I wanted to. Breakfast buffet was very annoying by the 3rd day. Totally ... Read More
Choose the cruise because it had some single people going. Room was OK, but the studio lounge was not inviting at all. I did enjoy the freedom to dine when and where I wanted to. Breakfast buffet was very annoying by the 3rd day. Totally went to another place to have order breakfast without everyone shoving me, coughing and sneezing on me. Entertainment was OK, some show good, other poor or fair. Liked the dueling pianos, and Epic Beatles. The tours were expensive and the one tour in Palma, the tour director was so hard to understand, and she would not be quiet, just talked the whole time, it was really annoying. The excursion in Naples we left because we could not hear her, the whispers were so bad and the noise level from traffic was high. I defiantly would NOT book tours with NCL and suggest to people other thing to do. Then the kicker, to have the ultimate beverage package but it did not include bottled water for our tours, come on... plus no wifi given??? Even your own people working the cruise have to pay for wifi. The nickel and dime you for everything was just too much. I prefer another company, Viking where they provide you with water when you leave the ship, their whispers are great, FREE wifi, computers and they will even let you use a laptop. FREE. So no more paying for going on your cruise line when I can choose another company that offers so much more and value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Another great trip with the Epic, first time as a solo guest in the studios. Studios are great, small but everything you need for a single guest. Staff was friendly and going the extra mile, as always nothing to complain about the staff on ... Read More
Another great trip with the Epic, first time as a solo guest in the studios. Studios are great, small but everything you need for a single guest. Staff was friendly and going the extra mile, as always nothing to complain about the staff on Norwegian. Food very good, seems to have even improved since my last cruise with more options in the main dining rooms and new specialty options. Buffet very good, but can get crowded on busy (sea) days. Entertainment is top of the notch on the Epic. Great team, wonderful Cruise Director Scott, magnificent shows and performances. You won't get bored on this ship. Yes, the ship has its flaws, but if you can look over them and realize thatt you are on vacation and should relax, the Epic is a really good ship. Would definately go on the Epic again. Overall, I do prefer the freestyle cruising over the classic cruising so Norwegian remains the way to go for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Excellent entertainment and great food in the main dining room. Only cruise line that has studio rooms which I was very impressed with. the only problem I had was getting the proper number of towels for my state room each night. The ... Read More
Excellent entertainment and great food in the main dining room. Only cruise line that has studio rooms which I was very impressed with. the only problem I had was getting the proper number of towels for my state room each night. The room steweard would sometimes pick up the used towels and forget to give me fresh new ones, I would have to call on the phone houskeeping and then I would get them. Priscilla queen of the desert,burn the floor, motown show, impressionist, excellent I would definately go on the newer norwegian ships with the studio rooms. t think the newer ships might have the best entertainment onbooard. Very easy to navigate your way around the ship and not get lost considering the size of the ship. Favorite ports Florence, Cannes , Barcelona, and Naples. Favorite tours Florence, Montic Carlo, Barcelona and Sorrento and PompeiI I would recommend this ship and this cruise and itinerary to a friend. Also di to nights in Rome pre cruise and did the hop on and off bus tour for one day veery good saw alot Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I just loved my cruise, always so many people that are negative, but I had a great time onboard. And the ports on this is just so interesting.. We had booked excursions in almost every port, and they wore great.. the only thing that was a ... Read More
I just loved my cruise, always so many people that are negative, but I had a great time onboard. And the ports on this is just so interesting.. We had booked excursions in almost every port, and they wore great.. the only thing that was a little down, was the queueing to get the sticker, but as soon as you got that, it took no time to get out of the ship and to the waiting bus. The food was good, and I did like the Manhattan room best for dinner, I dont like the atmosphere at Taste. The noodle bare is also very good for a quick bite, and I love the Italian.. the view from there is so nice. I did found th staff to be very nice, just talk to them and be like a normal person, and they will smile and give you super service, ( I always see so many demanding and rude persons, and if you are one you dont deserve good service) Entertainmetn onboard was sooo good, I love Pricilla, and I saw that 3 times, it is way better onboard that on Westend. Burn the floor is amazing as well, the dancers wore fantastic. waites I always got bar service quick and waiters was around always to serve you drinks. This was my second time on the Epic, I like this ship, and I cant wait to go bat on the TA in November. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Chose this cruise for the second time as I was traveling solo and really liked the itinerary. Enjoyed the trip the last time I did it and for the most part enjoyed this cruise too. Met some lovely people in the lounge and there is always ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the second time as I was traveling solo and really liked the itinerary. Enjoyed the trip the last time I did it and for the most part enjoyed this cruise too. Met some lovely people in the lounge and there is always someone looking to have you join a group for dinner. So make sure to go to the lounge prior to 6 pm if you want to join the groups and meet people. My only huge issue was the cabin location. I was in 12350 and my mistake was not verifying what was next to it. There was a large mechanical room (A/C) and it was loud in the cabin. I was very disappointed and almost walked off the ship but guest services did help out after about 3 attempts to discuss it with them. They did move me to 11500 which was a little quieter but there was a housekeeping cabin next to it and you could hear things moving around when the seas were rough. Then the last night I had to move back to the cabin as someone was coming on board for that room. It was a little bit of a hassle, packing and unpacking. I kind of think the solo cabins overall seem to be a little louder in the hallways, etc. Other floors didn't appear to be as loud in the hallways either. I did have the beverage package for all types of beverages. Honestly, I thought the cost which was just the tax and tips was a pretty good deal. Also, bought some WIFI which was a little pricey for how slow the connection speed can be but I needed to be able to check in at home. Had the speciality package for three meals. Cagneys was yummy and highly recommend it. Also did the Teppanayki (SP) with a few people and that was fun too. Did do the Cirque show which the show was good but the food was just okay. I thought the food was good. Believe the dining room Manhattan is nicer than Taste for the free meals. We did have dinner in the Asian restaurant which was okay. I heard the noodles were better than the "chinese food". It was nice to have something made to order. O'Sheehans isn't bad either for a quick bit. Like the location and atmosphere. If you are expecting Celebrity type service this isn't the cruise for you. Overall most employees were pleasant and felt the ship was maintained fine. My cabin steward for 12350 was non existent. The cabin steward for 11500, she was good and no complaints. Just a side note for people who don't know how to go through a buffet. Use a clean plate every time. And if you touch a plate and don't want it then find a server to take it away. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean as a solo passenger. I am very thankful that Norwegian sees that market and provides studios. The cost was $899 for 7 nights (NO ridiculous single supplement charge like other cruise lines!). The ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean as a solo passenger. I am very thankful that Norwegian sees that market and provides studios. The cost was $899 for 7 nights (NO ridiculous single supplement charge like other cruise lines!). The studios: outstanding accommodations; large with tonnes of storage for one traveller. I was in Room 11575 AFT and would not recommend location as the AFT cabins are over the engines. The room vibrates and it is very noisy when docking and leaving port. These rooms are not good for elderly passengers. The lady next to me was 80+ and had a walker. It is very tough to navigate the interior hallway and/or the tube-like shower with a walker. There is also a lounge for studio guests offering cappuccinos and light snacks. This offers solo travellers a place to meet others should they wish to have dinner and/or stage show companions. Shows: Priscilla Queen of the Desert is top quality. Best I've seen on any cruise line. Burn the Floor is well produced and perfect for fans of dance. I really enjoyed the MoTown music show in the cabaret as well. Food: I did not have the specialty dining package. Europe has only one sea day and I knew I would be eating fine food in ports. Breakfast at the Garden Café had endless choices. The Garden Café had a different theme nightly and met my needs. Moderno was also very good. I'm not a foodie and felt that the quality of food was very good on board . The Spa: I purchased a pass and really enjoyed this as it rained all 7 days of my cruise. Pools and heated loungers were really nice. Ports: 1. Rome - spend 4 days there before the cruise then took the train to meet the ship in Civitavecchia/ was surprised at what a beautiful beach town it is. 2. Livorno - you pay 5 euro for shuttle to get out of the port into the town. I then took a large tour bus for 3 hours in Florence and 1 hour in Pisa. Both are not to be missed. 3. Cannes - could not dock due to storm 3. Marseilles - 15 euro to take shuttle out of the port and to the town. There I took local train on my own to Aix en Provence which was extraordinary! 4. Barcelona - Hop-on Hop-Off Bus allowed me to see everything in one day. The city shuts down on Sundays so it was very quiet. 5. Naples -I tried to do this on my own but would recommend a tour. Leave Naples and head to the Amalfi Coast. The only port where you don't have to pay for a shuttle to reach the town site. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My wife spotted this deal on one of the major cruise TV shows and the price was good considering it included flights and transfers, but what really swung it was the inclusion of NCL's extremely expensive Ultimate Beverage Package as a ... Read More
My wife spotted this deal on one of the major cruise TV shows and the price was good considering it included flights and transfers, but what really swung it was the inclusion of NCL's extremely expensive Ultimate Beverage Package as a freebie. We ended up as a party of seven, My wife, daughter, daughter - in - law and myself had all cruised with NCL previously. My mother - in - law and her husband had cruised before but not with NCL and my mother was a first time cruiser. Between us we had a range of staterooms from an inside through a solo cabin and up to a couple of balcony cabins. The layout of the cabins took some getting used to with the toilet, the shower and the sink not being closed off in a separate bathroom. It quickly became obvious why NCL had done this as it gave the staterooms a feeling of having more space. As usual the staterooms were kept clean and supplied constantly with coffee etc. My daughter is still mystified as to why NCL do not supply a coffee maker in the Inside staterooms. My wife and I were equally mystified as to why there were no dressing gowns in the balcony staterooms, as they had been supplied last year in our balcony stateroom on The Gem. The solo cabin and facilities that come with it are excellent, and my mother didn't have to far for her morning fix of coffee. Overall everyone was very pleased with the staterooms. The Epic is huge, although in Barcelona it was dwarfed by RCL's Harmony of the Seas which was moored next to us at the pier. Having previously cruised on the Gem (twice) and Fred Olsens Braemar, which has less than 1000 passengers, we were all a bit worried that the Epic might be too big. This was not the case, in the end you could've been on any of NCL's ships just with a few extras, like the Ice Bar and Spice H2O thrown in. Dining as usual on NCL was very good. We only dined once in the Manhattan Restaurant but considering we were a table of seven the whole thing was handled and timed really well and the food was good. My wife and others also dined in Taste which they said was also very good. The main dining option for the rest was the Garden Buffet which has some really great food and so many options. For all the excellence of the dining, it was this that also led to a couple of disappointments, the first was a late night meal at O'Sheehans which was poor and the other was the new practice of charging for certain items in the main complimentary restaurants. I was looking forward to the Surf and Turf until one of our party noted that this would actually cost me around $25, this was the same for another couple of dishes, mostly involving Lobster from Maine. My advice to NCL is to either source your lobster from Europe (on this particular cruise) or don't have the dish on the menu in the complimentary dining options. We were entertained very well. The main show on the cruise was a very professional and very good Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. My mother also took in the Cirque Dreams show which she said was amazing but again let down by poor food, which considering the whole thing came to around $30 is a bit much. The quizzes and general entertainment such as parties was great and well done. The bars on board were as usual very well staffed and run. The itinerary was good, the trouble is if you wanted a full day anywhere it meant getting up extremely early, something I try to avoid when on holiday. As slightly more experienced cruisers we decided to DIY most of the ports as yet again NCL's excursions were extremely pricey. In Naples we went to Pompeii we hired a taxi at the port, this took us to Pompeii, waited 3 hours, visited a very nice Limoncello emporium then gave us a tour around the back streets of Naples for about 30 Euros and we paid 12 Euros entry to Pompeii. For Rome we jumped o the free shuttle to the port gates, the 2 Euros for a bus to Civitavecchia rail station. There we bought a return ticket and a ticket for a Hop on Hop off tourist bus in Rome. We saw everything we wanted for 47 euros each. In Livorno we hired a minibus at the dockside to take us to Pisa and wait a couple of hours. We didn't feel we had time to do Florence although there were drivers prepared to do both Pisa and Florence and wait in both places for 400 euros, which for the seven of us would have been about 58 euros each. Cannes and Marseille were just a couple of hours ashore, although in Marseille we had to catch the NCL shuttle at $15 each return. Embarkation was quick and easy with no distinction made between latitudes members and non members. Disembarkation was different as somebody accidentally took one of our bags and left there own. NCL were brilliant, they tracked down the person and bag at the airport and by the time we arrived on our shuttle our bag was waiting for us. Overall impressions. Well the cruise would have got 5 stars if it wasn't for NCL trying to squeeze more and more money from people. Charging for food in the complimentary restaurants, charging for most room service, the Ultimate Beverage Package does not cover all beverages only those to a value of $15 and there were quite a few drinks that were over that value, OK I got it free but if I'd paid £440 for it I'd have been pretty narked and lastly the cost of the excursions was almost prohibitive. On the plus side the service, stateroom, entertainment and most of the food was excellent, the itinerary is also good but personally I'd maybe cut one stop out and add an extra sea day. Would I go on this cruise again. Yes. Would I sail with NCL again Yes they're my favourite cruise line, but they can stop trying to squeeze money from me. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I chose this cruise because I left my teenagers at home and wanted a single cabin. This was my 14th cruise but my first solo cruise. The studio cabin was very functional and I met other single travellers in the lounge for dinner every ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I left my teenagers at home and wanted a single cabin. This was my 14th cruise but my first solo cruise. The studio cabin was very functional and I met other single travellers in the lounge for dinner every evening. I helped organize a pub crawl, that was a hoot, and partied at the H2O dance party every evening with people that I met in the lounge. The shows were great. The ports despite the heat were wonderful and since I had cruised this area before I was able to have a great mix of port and ship days to fully enjoy the experience. I would do this again in a heartbeat. The food was excellent and there were so many activities to access on board. Special thanks to Matt from Norway and Claire from England for making my cruise so memorable. I travelled with someone else in the singles cabin who was 70. It was her first cruise and she is already planning her next one. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Traveled for the first time in the solo cabin area. It was a safe haven from 2,000 children on board. Wonderful bartender at end of the day in solo area. Our Belgian leader tried to organize dinners but the reservations were early. Very ... Read More
Traveled for the first time in the solo cabin area. It was a safe haven from 2,000 children on board. Wonderful bartender at end of the day in solo area. Our Belgian leader tried to organize dinners but the reservations were early. Very rude passenger who organized her own things & made it difficult for all. Nights we did eat together were very enjoyable. Food was very good, and staff was wonderful. Loved my omelettes, burgers, steaks, Chinese food etc. Lots of choices and very hard working group of cooks, waiters and bartenders. Love to swim but it was disgusting in the pools. Whatever happened to having one pool for those of us who like to swim laps. Solo passengers in regular part of the ship said they felt humiliated when seated alone in restaurant. Underage children sat at the adult bar with their parents and tried to get drinks. I spent a lot of time but not a lot of money on researching shore excursions. I was so happy to get off the ship in Naples, Florence etc. I enjoyed all of my excursions except for Rome. I would not go on this ship again. I can go to a theme park and have the same experience with screaming children. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
It has been six year's since my last cruise. This was with royal caribbean. I found this cruise basically half the price as royal caribbean, due to single, no supplement studio cabin's. I was also pleased to receive the ... Read More
It has been six year's since my last cruise. This was with royal caribbean. I found this cruise basically half the price as royal caribbean, due to single, no supplement studio cabin's. I was also pleased to receive the ultimate drink's package at the time of booking, for free. I pre-booked transfer's, from the airport at rome, to the ship at civitavecchia. The transfer took an hour by bus. There were plenty representatives from norwegian at the airport to direct you. Check in at the port was quick and i was on board within 20 minutes. I quickly found my studio cabin on deck 11 and received my suitcase an hour later. The ship is very large, but finding your way around did not take long, with interactive screen's at elevator's and signs at each level in stairways. I ate at the garden café all the time. That was a great buffet with different theme night's depending on which port you were at and plenty of ice cream you can help yourself too. This ship had plenty of thing's to do, from shopping to load's of bar's and of course the swimming pool's and flume slide's. I liked the adult's area bar spice h20 and o'sheenans for a drink, but you sometimes had to wait for them to finnish making cocktail's before you got served. One thing i noticed was, crew buying case's of bottle's of water in port and taking it on board, while guest's are prohibited and have to pay for expensive bottle's from the ship! Another thing i noticed on my last night was the pen and norwegian headed notepaper taken out of the cabin! Disembarkation went good but had to be off ship at 07:00 for transfer to airport. I feel norwegian is on par with royal caribbean but with less gimmicks and would book with norwegian again. Livorno port, italy. I got the port transfer bus to main shopping square for 5 euro return. But they offered a transfer to rail station plus ticket to florence for 50 euro. Cannes port, france. Tendered ashore after rush at 10:15am. Walked around harbour looking at mega yachts and the castle where you get great view's. Marseilles port, france. Went on my first norwegian excursion, avignon and marseilles city highlights. Avignon was very interesting but 2 hours free time a bit long. Marseilles highlights part, took us to a church on top of a hill overlooking the whole of the city. Barcelona port, spain. Paid 4 euro for a return bus transfer to the harbour front but walkable without luggage. I walked around city. There were 3800 passenger's embarking the ship here. Naples port, italy. I booked an excursion with norwegian, pompeii excavations. Guide took us around site for two hour's with a little free time to buy souvenirs. I also walked round downtown which look's a bit rough. Read Less
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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