69 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Singles Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

At long last I am sitting down to write my review of my fabulous 7 days on the Epic. Writing this brings back so many memories and makes me want to do it all over again! For those of you who just want a quick summary, see immediately ... Read More
At long last I am sitting down to write my review of my fabulous 7 days on the Epic. Writing this brings back so many memories and makes me want to do it all over again! For those of you who just want a quick summary, see immediately below. For those who want a longer, blog-type review, please find my review on the messages boards under the same title. Quick review: •Mid October has unpredictable weather – be prepared for rain, lots of sun, cool temperatures, and heat in the more southern ports, basically pack one of everything. •I found the Epic to be a vast improvement over my other NCL cruise on the Norwegian Sky, so in this case, newer does mean better. •If you smile and are nice to the staff, they treat you like royalty. True everywhere, but definitely very true on the Epic. •Embarkation took about a half hour and disembarkation took less than 5 minutes! •Food in the buffet/MDRs was mainly average with no real problems, but no real standouts. The specialty restaurants are worth the splurge. •The spa pass is completely worth it. (Hint: if you go on the second or third day, they give you a discount for the days that you didn't get to use it!) •Shore excursions were all well-organized and worth the money. •The solo cabins, lounge, and solo traveler activities are quite possibly the best things to ever happen in cruising. •Overall, an excellent trip and I would book on the Epic (either in a solo cabin or a spa cabin) again in a heartbeat.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was my 4th annual Mediterranean trip onboard Epic. The ship is looking good for her age, due her first dry dock next year. After having done the main entertainment several time I still enjoyed a different set of "legends in ... Read More
This was my 4th annual Mediterranean trip onboard Epic. The ship is looking good for her age, due her first dry dock next year. After having done the main entertainment several time I still enjoyed a different set of "legends in concert". But howl at the moon was probably the best three I've seen. Food was great as ever, albeit no free ice cream with Apple pie at O'Sheehans anymore! As always. It's the crew who make or break a cruise and this years had some experienced professionals Id seen in years past. The only let down was the ncl transfers and check-in. Worse yet. We had to wait 1.5hrs in a hot airport arrivals hall and then at check-in was sent to an overflow area which had no separate platinum Lattitudes check-in area.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
The word I used most all week must have been 'amazing!'. I was an extremely nervous first time solo traveller. I chose a cruise because of the social promises made by NCL. I was not disappointed. The studio cabins were perfect ... Read More
The word I used most all week must have been 'amazing!'. I was an extremely nervous first time solo traveller. I chose a cruise because of the social promises made by NCL. I was not disappointed. The studio cabins were perfect for one and I was very comfortable, I loved the little touches like the mood lighting, towel sculptures, the dial outside the door to say Do not disturb/ turn down bed...etc. my only criticism of the cabin is that my shower cubicle didn't drain very well so the shower tray filled up within seconds, but it never overflowed so maybe this was a ship thing. After finding my way around I went to the studio lounge at 6.30pm as instructed on a board in the lounge and about 15 of us turned up ranging in age from late 20's to 60's. The cruise host got all the introductions sorted and had everyone smiling within 10mins so we went to The Taste restaurant for our first dinner, the host came too and organised free bottles of white and red wine for us and then worked hard to get to know everybody and point out connections between us. His attention to detail was superb. He disappeared very quickly as he had the busiest schedule I have ever seen, he was all over the ship each day. Dinners were pre-arranged for each night based on what we were interested in doing. By the end of the week he was organising 2 events for the different groups that had boarded through the week. He often supplied free drinks like the champagne for the evening sail away meet up in the spice bar on deck when we left Civitivecchia. Free drinks became important once we realised how expensive they were! One issue we did have in Taste and Manhattan Garden (the 2 main inclusive restaurants at night) the service was slow if you weren't down there and seated by 7pm and secondly the food was great but not suited to dairy/gluten free diets. This is a weakness that should be addressed. The ship appeared to be great for families with the garden cafe, sundeck, teen area and kids water park, but I found the adults only sun deck, bar and food area more peaceful and a lot less chaotic. At night we did do some shows and the Cirque dinner is great, highly recommended. Most evenings we ended up in the Bliss lounge which seemed to change activities every hour so was quite entertaining each night. I didn't do the casino but the martini bar was lovely too. My only disappointment is the jazz bar, when in Europe there is no jazz!!! They put on a Beatles tribute band every night which was very annoying as I had been looking forward to getting some jazz time! I am not a sunbather so I bought a spa pass for the week which was $149 for the week and you could go as often and as long as you liked, I went around 9 am most days for 2 hours and it was always empty. I did do excursions to Herculanium, Florence and Pisa and then Barcelona on the last day. All excursions were brilliant and extremely well organised. They were expensive but I understood why when I saw how they worked, we used all the fastest toll roads, air conditioned coaches, excellent guides, lunches were in very nice hotels and free bottles of water were provided through the week. I hopped off at Palma and Cannes and just wondered around myself, both were very easy and I felt safe doing that alone. So all in all it was an amazing week, I met some fantastic people who I am keeping in touch with and it surpassed all my dreamy expectations by a country mile. Before I left the ship I put my deposit down for the next cruise which earned me $100 off my on board bill and I have 4 years to use the deposit on any NCL cruise. Can't wait for the new ships sailing from the UK - all with studio cabins. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I went on that cruise to re-load my batteries. it was perfect! Cabin: I was booked in a Stuido cabin. Was my second time as enjoyed it just the same. You meet a lot of People from different countries. It's so refreshing ... Read More
I went on that cruise to re-load my batteries. it was perfect! Cabin: I was booked in a Stuido cabin. Was my second time as enjoyed it just the same. You meet a lot of People from different countries. It's so refreshing Food: I enjoyed that they had Theme nights at the buffet Restaurants. That was new and the Food was great. I also went to Moderno. That was not really for me as I'm not a big eater and was already full from "Side dishes" Buffet. If you are a good eater this is the best Option for you. The MDR's were good as well. Entertainment: I was lazy and didn't go to any Shows as I have seen the Blue Man Group before. There is a lot of things going on for all Kind of guests. Solo travellers, Coupls, Family etc Fitness: there is a great Fitnesscenter. The even offer some courses eg Yoga, Spinning In General I Love NCL as you don't have any set times for Dinner. You can go when you are hungry. The only Thing I have to "critizise" is the expensive excursions. I like to do my own Thing. But in the port on that cruise it's not so easy and if you are familiar with the Italien strike philosphie I don't want to depend on any Train schedule. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
It was my 3rd time on the Norwegian Epic. As a Solotraveller I booked myself into a Studio cabin. As the two Cruises before, I loved it. the mingling with the other Solotravellers in Studio Lounge was great. You meet so many ... Read More
It was my 3rd time on the Norwegian Epic. As a Solotraveller I booked myself into a Studio cabin. As the two Cruises before, I loved it. the mingling with the other Solotravellers in Studio Lounge was great. You meet so many other People. During my cruise they had changed the Food. In the Garden Cafe there was a Theme night every evening. I tried the "Italien" and "Asian" It was delicous! I also went again to the Cagney's and the La Cucina. I liked the La Cucina better as they changed the Appetizers and the Desserts at Cagney's and I didn't like them that much. But that is just my view I did this itinerary now the 3rd time ( I know, but as a Solotraveller you Need to watch the Price) and so far I was fortunate that one port was new. This time is was Palma. I did the excruison "Florence on your own" It was good. somehow a bit to Long as I'm not the Museum typ and main attractions are withing the City Center. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Here is the down and dirty about this cruise. ...... We went out of Rome for 7 days on September 18, 2013. Overall I would rate this cruise as very good. But there were a few things that needed improvement. I should start with the ... Read More
Here is the down and dirty about this cruise. ...... We went out of Rome for 7 days on September 18, 2013. Overall I would rate this cruise as very good. But there were a few things that needed improvement. I should start with the disclaimer that I am a loyal Norwegian client and will continue to sail with them because I like their overall cruising style. EMBARKATION We embarked in Rome after spending 2 nights in Rome, which we arranged ourselves. Rome is a beautiful city which is easy to get around either on foot or with the use of public transit. Transportation to the port is easy to do on your own. There is no need for expensive cruise arranged transport if you are able to manage your suitcases yourself. My advice to you is pack light and go it alone. The train from FCO Fiumcino airport to termini station is call the Leonardo express and you can take this train for €14.50. The train runs frequently and is easy to find from the baggage area of the airport. Alternatively, if there are 3 or more of you, you can book a private taxi to termini or central rome for €40 with jump limo (an excellent service for Rome transfers) At termini station there is a train to civitavecchia port. This train is €5 to €12 depending on the service provider. The ticketing machines are really easy to use and self explanatory. They operate in several languages. A word of caution if someone is offering to help you buy your ticket at the train station ignore them or tell them to go away. Best case scenario they will ask for money for helping you sort out your ticket. Worse case scenario they are trying to distract you to rob you or pickpocket you. You can manage the ticket process yourself. When you arrive in civitavecchia, the port is approximately 700 m, to the free shuttle that will take you to the Gangway of the ship. This walk is on level ground and easy to do with wheeled cases. The only challenge is you have to cross under the tracks so that means walking down the stairs and then up again with your cases. If this would be physically a struggle then maybe this mode of transport is not for you. Embarking in Rome..... Quick and seamless. No lines. Room ready immediately (we got on board at about 12:30) and luggage was there in about 45 mins. This is an excellent time to explore the ship because the majority of cruisers embark in Barcelona meaning that they are all in port when you are embarking. Check out all the areas, figure out the lay of the land and book all your entertainment that day if you are planning on taking in the shows. More on that later. CABIN I booked a studio cabin which was more that comfortable. They have made excellent use of space and storage. The separation of the toilet and the shower is great. The curved lines of the room make it feel larger than it is and lastly the lighting.... It's a cross between a spa and a bordello but some how it works! You can choose the shade you want from 4 options and it is a nice touch. The beds and pillows are comfortable and the linens are warm and cozy. The only negative is the night lights. They are located above the beds and glow blue which illuminate the room which would otherwise be pitch black. There is no way to dim or turn off these lights. If this will bother you, bring a mask :)! PORTS Livorno Here is my first complaint with the cruise. The ports are often not close to anything and transportation out of the port is not simple. NCL arranges for shuttles but it costs $12 per person return to the train station. If you are planning a trip on your own, take a taxi from the gangway to the train station. This will ensure you get the first train to florence at 8:12. The cost will be €25 flat rate. If you are cost conscious try and hook up with others who plan to do the same through roll call lists on cruise critic. There is not much to see in livorno. You need to travel to florence or Pisa from here. This can easily be done on your own. Depending on what you want to see you do not have to take an excursion from the ship. Trains run frequently to florence (about 1h 20 mins away) express trains are fastest so choose an appropriate train. Again the ticket machines are easy to use. The ticket clerks are helpful. No need to book a return ticket now but you can if you want to. Tickets are open and not to assigned trains. You need to validate at the ticket validation machines on the platforms. Apparently there are random checks but I wasn't stopped once. Please note that if you are going to see the main sights in florence you want to get off the train at SANTA MARIA NOVELLA station not Firenze! When in florence there are many things to see. If you want to see David he is housed in the academia gallery a 15 min walk from the train station. Pre ok your David time. You can make 10:30 if you make the 8:12 train. You can reserve tickets by calling the academia museum. You can reserve without payment and pay when you pick up your time. If you miss it or if you change your mind nothing lost. The cost is €15 per person. If you do not precook be prepared to wait in line for tickets. If you precook pick up your tickets across the main entrance of the museum which is a bookstore and enter the reserved line after picking up tickets. From there you can walk to duomo the cathedral. The line to get in is very long. You can climb 452 stairs to the top for a €10 fee. If this interests you pre book this as well. The line is long and moves only at the pace of those climbing it. I did not go in the duomo so I cannot comment on its worth. From the duomo you can walk to ponte vecchio. If you want silver this is where you will buy it. The bridge itself is quaint and crosses the river easily, but is very crowded. If you plan to do the uffizi gallery you will run out of time before seeing everything it is a huge collection. I didn't do this myself but others I met mentioned it was too much to see. There are also lots of Medici dynasty buildings you can visit. If you plan to see Pisa as well, you will not have time to do it all. On your way back to the train it is worth walking through the leather markets. There is beautiful workmanship. Also stop and see the Santa Maria novella church beside the train station if there is time. From florence, we went to Pisa. This was by train for €6.80 and there are express trains that get you to Pisa in 48 mins. You go to Pisa centrale station. From there you take the LAM rossa (red line not a red bus most of them are orange) on about a 10 min bus ride. You will know where to get off you will see the tower when you are approaching the stop. The tickets for LAM rossa you can purchase from the driver. You can climb the tower again precook a time or you will waitin long long lines. We did not climb the tower so I cannot comment on whether its worth it. Returning to the ship from Pisa is 15 min train ride followed by a shuttle ride or cab ride back to the port. Again if you are looking for a guided tour then by all means go with the ship but this can be done easily on your own. MARSEILLES Again you are required to take a taxi or shuttle out of the port. There are tons of construction projects going on in the port so this time it was worth it to use the shuttle as a taxi will likely be expensive while trying to navigate the traffic. Pre purchase the shuttle tickets the night before port to save some time. If you plan to go to the beach skip the shuttle and go directly to a taxi but note the beach is about a 20 km drive and is small. We did not go but it looked nice. Crowded and small but there are lots of cares/hotels in the area and the water looked glorious. We took the little train (aka fun train) from the port. It cost €8. Worth every cent. Winds it's way up in an open air train up to Norte dame de la guarde cathedral which is definitely something to see. Beautiful inside and beautiful views of the city from 162 metres above the sea. A word of caution the return train from the cathedral is poorly organized so you might have to get in a long line to return to the start of the route. Nevertheless, it's a great tour of Marseilles and it takes about 2 hours depending on how long you spend in the cathedral. On returning to the port there are several high end shops along st ferrol street of the Main Street la carbeniere. The shops are worth a look. There are many street side cafes, bakeries and bars to stop for a meal or light refreshments. On the way back to the shuttle there are little carts with soaps, spices, lavender and crafts available for sale. If wanting to visit Aix-en-Provence, my advice would be to take a guided tour. PALMA If you want a beach this is the place for it! The beaches in Palma are beautiful and sandy. No pebbles here. In this port you can walk off the ship and hire a taxi to take you where you want to go. There is a steady stream if taxis available and they can quote you a price for where you want to go. If you want a tour of the town the ship will again get you to the city square for another $12 shuttle. There is a hop on hop off bus in Palma to show you the sights. We chose the beach and we were not disappointed. There are several in the area but we chose Palma Nova. It was €17 to €20 ride to the beach. €13.50 rented an umbrella and 2 beach loungers. There are public facilities for €0.50 per visit. The water is beautiful and clear with a sandy bottom. There are several little eateries and cafes along the waterfront and you can get take out food and beverages to consume on the beach. Alcohol is ok here as long as it is not in glass containers. There are souvenirs shops and people speak English well. This is a lovely, low key day on the beach, nice after a couple of busy days touring. BARCELONA This is a very hectic port city! The traffic and the coming and going of people, taxi, buses, excursions can be overwhelming. With the Epic, you have to remember this is a city for embarking and disembarking. So there is a slew of activity and they start the disembarking notices at 6:30 am. For those who are staying on in this port, no sleeping in today. You can get off the ship at any time, but my advice would be to wait until around at least 9 am. There are crowds and lines (the epic will not be the only ship in port that day, there will be at least one and maybe 2 others that day since this is a popular port to start cruises) that need to clear a bit before you try to move out of the port and the traffic is prohibitive. When you are ready to get off, Barcelona is a good city to see on your own. It is easy to get about and move around using public transport but if you want a lay of the land, I would consider the HOHO (hop on hop off) bus. Getting out of the port requires transport to the main square. There is a port shuttle that is €3.50 per person and tickets are purchased from the driver. Taxis are also available to take you where you want to go right from inside the port. Again the demand for them is. High initially because of all the people going to the airport. NCL charges $30 a person for transport but a taxi to the airport is about €25 to €30 for up to 4 people with 4 bags. It is definitely more economical to take a taxi. If there is a particular sight you want to see in Barcelona, a taxi would be more efficient use of time. For example the sagrada famiglia will require a wait in very long lines to get in so if that is your "must see" on the trip go there first. You will certainly run out if time before seeing everything you want to see. The best way to see a bit of everything is the HOHO bus. There are 2 companies that provide this service and the price is the same with very similar routes. There are 2 lines the red and blue. Each takes about 2 hours and stops at the major sites to allow you off to explore. All the major Gaudi sites are visited and the exchange point is very near La Ramblas, so you can finish your day there. The down side of Barcelona is the fact that we are there on a Sunday so all of the markets and shops are closed. On your return to the ship, be certain to stroll down la Ramblas with its pedestrian boulevard and eateries. Grab a place to sit order some tapas and sangria. It really is delicious in Spain! Give your self a little extra time to get back on the ship. Remember there are those that are just embarking with all their luggage and the lines are a bit longer. NAPLES If you want to see the Amalfi Coast, Sorrent, Positano and Pompeii, remember you are only in Naples for 12 hours and to fit all of that in you will need to do a guided tour. Transport through that area is n narrow roads and little highways. This does not mean you have to take an excursion through the ship. I would suggest "can't be missed tours" they are a private tour company that takes groups of 8 or 12 people in a van to the sites you want to see. This is €65 per person as opposed to $179-$299 per person through the ship. I did not do this tour myself but I have heard excellent things about it. We chose to go to Capri. I would highly recommend this! It's beautiful there! And if you do go to Capri you must see the Blue Grotto. I would rate this as one of the highlights of the cruise. To get to Capri the hydrofoil can be caught right from the port. Depending on the boat/operator you choose it will take between 40 and 70 mins to get there. For the fast hydrofoil it was 40 mins and cost €20.50. The ride is stable, air conditioned and comfortable. No worry of sea sickness here. The hydrofoil is very stable. When you get to the dock in Capri, you can get a boat to take you to the blue grotto. They will tell you it takes an our but it is closer to 2 hours. If you are prone to sea sickness don't take this route. You can get a taxi from port to the blue grotto on land you must then descend steep stone steps to a dock area where a row boat will take you in. I don't know what this will cost as we opted for the water route. It was a beautiful sunny day so it was great to be out on the water. This shuttle costs €13.50. When you arrive at the blue grotto the shuttle ties off and you wait for the row boats to come get you from the shuttle. You must climb off the shuttle boat and into the row boat with the assistance if the rower. This is not difficult with their help but you must be able to do this, otherwise take the land route. Once you get in your row boat you must pay for admission to thè blue grotto..... The rower moves you over to a pink row boat where admission is collected €12.50 per person. You then get in line to get into the blue grotto. You must lay down in the rowboat to get in and once it it is the Most incredibly blue water I have ever seen! Definitely worth it! You are then returned to your shuttle boat after tipping your rower/tourguide we gave €5 for three of us. When everyone is back on the shuttle you get taken back to the main port. It is a bit of a wait to get into the grotto but you are sitting inthè sunshine on a boat off the isle of Capri how bad can that be right? When back to the port get a ticket for the funicular. This will pull you the side of the cliff through lemon groves and houses to the top for a beautiful island and ocean view. The views are spectacular and make sure to take lots of photos here. From the funicular station climb the stairs to the central square to check out the piaza, clock tower and church. Very pretty! The funicular takes about 10 mins and thogh the line is long, it moves quite quickly. The cost is €3.60 return and well worth the trip. Before heading back to the ship stop at one of the open air restaurants in the port and have a pizza (one of the best we had) and sangria..... They finish the meal with a complimentary shot of local limoncello which is a treat! The service, food and atmosphere is superb. There are lots of little souvenir stores to peruse as well. You don't have to buy your return ticket until you are leaving Capri and there are several departures returning to Naples but remember they all take different time to get back so select carefully. You can buy tickets from the port office. If you are looking for a beach there is a small one behind the port ticket office. There are more but you will need to get there by taxi. ENTERTAINMENT The Epic has people coming and going all the time so the entertainment on the ship is done differently than I have ever experienced. With the exception if the circus show, all entertainment is free but you do have to book reservations. Plan your shows accordingly your first day on the ship and call the box office or book them yourself from your stateroom tv. The Beatles show.... Definitely very entertaining. Go for sure. Legends.... We had Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Adele..... Definitely entertaining and worth seeing, Adele was great! Blue Man Group...... I have to say I didn't get it but for their 90 mins show I was entertained. All of these are in the main epic Theater and there are no bad seats. There are shows held in Headliners comedy club. Door open 45 mins prior the show.... Go early because if you are going to be at the back you won't be able to see. There are tv screens but seems strange to watch a live show n a tv screen. In this venue are the Spanish ballet -flamenco dancing - quite good, Graffiti Classics - a strange comedic string quartet - odd but mildly entertaining, Los Locos Ole - Spanish guitar players interspersed with comedy- I found this silly and annoying so we left early. The most entertaining "shows" we're called Howling at the Moon- a trio of men who were basically duelling pianos. They take suggested songs from the audience written of little slips of paper and just begin to play..... They are funny, talented and very entertaining. We did not discover this until the latter part of the cruise but I would have gone to that every night if possible. Definitely check them out! There is always something to do but the 1030 to midnight entertainment is a bit limited. The ice bar at $20 was worth it and was a novelty. As a note for sea day, get up,early and stake out a space! Remember, EVERYONE is on board and there are not enough deck chairs for everyone. So if you are looking for some sunshine get a chair early. We ate every night in the Manhattan Room generally around 6:30 and had breakfast in the Garden Cafe. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants but heard good things about the Italian and le Bistro restaurant. So pros and cons of cruising the Med on the Epic Pros: food was excellent although service was sometime slow, embarkation and disembarkation was smooth, entertainment was good, staterooms were clean and well maintained, beds were comfortable, there is always somethñg to do. Cons: if you are looking for fancy sail away parties and presentations for what to do, tour of the ships etc, board in Barcelona. The ship definitely caters to those that board there. There are no "quiet" areas on the ship like a games room or a library to be removed from the large crowds, there are no nightly drink specials or 2 for 1 night cap specials in the martini bar as I am used to on other ships-- all other ships I have been on have a lounge/bar above the bridge which is quiet and you can have a drink before dinner or bed, that doesn't exist on this ship. The Bliss lounge is nice but it is paired with a bowling alley and has a live DJ. I am thinking more like the windjammer lounge on other ships. There are constantly people coming and going in ports so I don't think the crew really builds an attachment or recognition of anyone, which is felt in the service they provide. It isn't nearly as personal as I have experienced on other ships. You feel a little like number. Not my usual experience on NCL cruises, I don't know if this is because it was European destinations as I usually do the Caribbean or the ship and crew itself.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The Eve of my cruise arrived and I knew it would be a busy day. I had it all planned: Alarm set for 8am. Beauty salon 9.30am. Lunch with Dad at noon. Cat to Cattery 2pm. ASDA's for last minute shop 3pm. Birthday tea with girl ... Read More
The Eve of my cruise arrived and I knew it would be a busy day. I had it all planned: Alarm set for 8am. Beauty salon 9.30am. Lunch with Dad at noon. Cat to Cattery 2pm. ASDA's for last minute shop 3pm. Birthday tea with girl friends home by 6pm. Re-check suit case weight and ensure lists done by 8pm. Bed by 9pm and get some sleep. Set alarm for 1am,1 hour before airport pick up at 2am. Instead Lunch over ran, cat late to Cattery, tea over ran. went out to club with Dad, then my Brother rang at 11pm and call lasted an hour. No sleep for me and lift turned up late OMG! Due at Manchester airport 5am, got there at 4am and had to hang around until check in opened at 5am on my own, I was not chuffed and very tired. This was not the greatest start to my Epic adventure, but once in the line for check in I got talking with a few people and the time went quite quickly. Then the disaster started! it came my turn to check in, my case went on the scales and my worst nightmare occurred. "Sorry your case is over weight Madame, by 4kg. It must be your toiletries or all the shoes you ladies like to wear" snigger. "We give you 22kg allowance! is that not enough? Before I could answer or ask if I could swap my toiletries into my hand luggage, he had slapped a sticker on my passport, handed me a piece of paper and told me to go to the excess baggage counter. It cost me £48 for my suntan lotions, beauty products and medical supplies ouch!Through passport control was a doddle, into Boots for Pro-plus and then onto the VIP lounge for breakfast and relaxation. Booked this in advance and well worth the money. English breakfast, a pot of tea and then lazy boy recliner. Steward stated they would waken me before my flight was called, as had all my flight info. on their reception desk. They did too and I headed towards my gate, to find my plane was delayed by 40mins. In the waiting area I was talking to a young lady going back to Dubai. She was a nurse and looking forward to seeing her boyfriend, after spending 8 weeks in Europe. That was when I met a fellow Studio occupier, Debbie from Leeds in Yorkshire, like me a first to cruising and travelling alone. We hit it off straight away and decided to go around together on the Epic. She was 20 years my junior but that didn't bother either of us. The gate opened and we boarded the plane, unfortunately we couldn't sit together, that when I met Ian! also in Studio accommodation on the Epic. We talked non stop on the flight over, he had been on her before and was full of knowledge, plus does and don't when on board the Epic. I decided to make my own judgements on things, so I smiled and nodded in the right places. As we came into Barcelona Ian pointed out the Epic at the Docks, even from that height she was impressive and I was getting so excited. Arrivals wasn't so easy, there was a baggage handlers strike! The cases for 6 flights eventually arrived across 3 to 4 conveyer belts and Ian bless him was hovering between them getting our luggage, by this time we had met more people on the Epic. The rep was waiting for us outside the terminal and we had to walk a long ways to our coach, which required another Caffeine tablet to keep me awake. Embarkation was organised chaos, 1st we had to take off our own cases and then a baggage guy took them from us and popped them on a golf buggy, and we entered the terminal. Passenger were walking in like headless chickens and NCL employees were giving out cold drinks and telling people which line to go into.Debbie and I clung to each other so we wouldn't get separated and joined the queue to sort out our security photo and cabin credit. We then got our cabin pass key and were ready to go on board. This was the first of many time I would go through security to board the ship and each time was as exciting as the first. The 3 of us agreed to meet up in an hour and have a walk around the ship, unfortunately I fell asleep in my cabin and nearly missed Muster Drill. My cabin was better than the photo, I was next to the door to the lounge as I'd planned. I decided to walk through the lounge on the way to Muster drill in Spiegels' Tent on deck 5. Ian and Debbie and some other were there. So I chatted for a little while and we made our way to the lifts. One of many journeys to that darn lift area I would make lol! The Muster drill was long winded and repeated in the languages of Europe and the world. I know it's essential, but can't they have universal translators or something if you don't speak English! I went up onto deck 15 for a late lunch and my 1st look around, had some pizza slices and salad. I bought my 'UB package' and had my 1st of many cocktails a Pina Colada. Wow! what an amazing sight in front of me, it was awesome and my favourite music playing, the Miami Latin beat and people were dancing ready for the 'Sail Away' party. Later I made my way back to my cabin to get ready for the 1st meeting at 6pm with our Studio rep. The crowd in the lounge were a really friendly bunch. Maria our rep organised 2 large tables at Taste and we all went on to dinner. By 9pm we were ready to hit the night life of the Epic, a little drink at Shakers and onto H20 Spice. I had to leave them early for Blue Man event, but it was worth booking, I had a blast and luckily the people in my row got them too! Its now midnight and time for bed and the comfort of Egyptian cotton sheets. I'll unpack tomorrow, as it's a sea day. Day 2:I slept like a log and had set my alarm for 9am, I showered and went for brunch in The Garden Cafe. Very enjoyable continental breakfast and coffee was had, then headed for H20 adult area and found a lounger and a cooling sea breeze. Planned to spend the day here basking in the sun and catching some rays, while par-taking in the odd cocktail of two. 4pm. Went back to cabin via. lounge and bumped into Ian, Marcus and 'Mandy Mae' who I'd met the previous evening. Arranged to see them in Bliss night club later as was going to Cirque to Dinner in Spiegels Tent at 9.30. On way out at 6pm met one of the Sues from Sunday night, she was off to 'Graffiti' at the comedy club, maybe I was pushy but asked if I could accompany her, we had a good laugh. Went to shaker for a Grey Goose Martini or 2 and said our farewells. It's a shame as it was her last night as she got on at Naples the week before. Cirque de Dinner was really great, although my table was with a family who moaned about everything. Oh well! You can't please them all. Met Marcus and onto bliss, big mistake I didn't get back until 2am. Day 3: Had to be up at 5.30am for Pompeii & Sorrento excursion. Didn't over sleep thank god! Tired and extremely hung over though! Followed instructions and found guide with plaque for tour. Met a family from Toronto and 3 single girls in their 40's. Had a great day, even found an Irish for a loo and long cold lager. I hope to see them on other trips. Managed to get a Jacuzzi on deck and soaked by tired muscles, before showering for dinner. Debbie was already in lounge at 6.30 and told everybody had already gone on to Tastes, we had a good natter and joined them all again, this time there were a few new faces as people had boarded in Naples. It was FABBA night and I had put on a very 80's dress and wedges. We went to Bliss for Kareoke after dinner and had a good laugh, found a few of our crowd were extremely good singers. Then onto FABBA party, having had a few drinks already I felt squiffy and made a fool of myself. My Mum died this year and she loved ABBA, so I cried all the way through. Our crowd were so nice about it and made sure I was O.K. Went to bed by midnight as up at 5am. Day 4: Rome in a private car. Had a long and hot day ahead, so decided to have a breakfast at o'Sheehans. It was good and filling and the waiter was fun too. Took the shuttle to the meeting place and met the Glasgow girls again, they were doing the colosseum only option. I shared a limo with Greg and Evelyn and 2 other couples. The driver/guide was really nice and let me sit up front with him. I told him I was interested in Italian history and he was so knowledgable. I know its' his job to know! The whole day was fantastic, Rome was so large but wonderful. Evelyn and Greg took me under their wing and we really got on well. Although I got lost from them leaving the Sistine Chapel, which had the most beautiful frescos I have ever seen. No problem the driver came around a 2nd time and found me, which stopped me panicking lol! One of the other couples were also running late and kept us waiting 30 minutes. On returning to the ship I had another soak in the Jacuzzi and felt better for it! Showered and met the others for dinner at Manhattans, they left a note on the board for me, as I was running late. I preferred this dinning option as they had a band playing swing style music. The food wasn't as good, but I don't know why! Went to 7.30 Legends show with Debbie, Julie & Stephen. Was really good entertainment, by Tom Jones, Adele and Tina Turner look a likes & sound a likes. We went to H20 for the Casino Royale night, long dresses and tuxedos, had our photos taken by ship photographer. Left a 1pm for bed as on another excursion, felt well drunk too! Day 5: Pisa and Florence. Met the Glasgow girls and Carol from America again. The family from Toronto were also there, a couple from Edinburgh and a mum and daughter from LA. Did the push the pillar straight picture and then onto Florence. I fell head over heels in love with Florence. The renaissance architecture was fantastic and the details in the statues and paintings were breath taking. Couldn't do the Jacuzzi thing today, as all 6 were full. So had a shower and ached a bit. White hot party night, not the best look when your larger lady. Dinner in Taste, my usual crowd weren't there as gone to Cirque de Dinner at 7.30pm. Had dinner with Marcus, Emily, Lynne and Sue. Went onto Shakers for cocktails and then H20, other had already arrived and everyone looked good. Stayed out until 3am, as didn't have to get up early, trip was in the afternoon. Day 6: Met Crowd for breakfast at O'Sheehans' at 10am and enjoyed an omelette and American coffee. Sunbathed until 1pm and changed into shorts for trip to Aix en Provence. Trip was very disorganised and guide was ignorant and rude. The town was typical French, with designer boutiques and quaint squares with cafes in. Wish I could have explored more without guide, who we couldn't hear anyways. I was not the only one who complained about guide and the excursion. Met crowd at usual time and went onto Tastes for dinner, and had sparkling wine too. We then went onto Bliss again for Kareoke, this time I sang 'Daniel' by Elton John, didn't do to bad. Due to slight change in weather 80's night was being held at Bliss at 9pm. Staff were dressing in costume and miming to 80's tunes. Wasn't a good night, I got really bored. Maybe all this excursions had caught up with me, but I was shattered. Left by 11pm and made my way to Lounge for a coffee and met Lynne, Emily and Sue. Stayed up later than expected, as more people joined us in the lounge area. It was fun talking with people from all over the world and I know I will miss this the most. Day 7: Last trip of week half day in Majorca, going to Porta Christo in the North of the island and seeing the Dragon Caves, then onto the Pearl factory. Hopefully some familiar faces will be there and we can catch up. Had a good day, cave were surreal and the lake was a bit spooky when lite up. Especially when the boats came across and the quartet played. I wanted to sing 'don't pay the ferry man' by Chris de Burgh, when we got the boats across the lake. Meeting crowd in lounge to go for drinks at Shakers, tonight we are booked to go to the Moderno for Ians' birthday, it should be a good night. I have already packed my main case ready to take out at midnight for stewards to collect. Put a change of clothes out for tonight and tomorrow. Last evening I cannot believe it has come round so fast. Moderno was different, salad bar was good, starters were tasty choice of cold or hot. Then they brought out the skewers of meat and poultry some spicy, some plain. I had to turn my paddle to red a few times, as I can only take so much meat at once. Finished meal by 10pm, I think everybody felt sad at leaving, as we all disappeared for a while to change and the mood was different when we met up again. Most had an early night going to bed at 11pm, I went in lounge and said goodbye to the coffee set. Day 8: Barcelona and the home leg. Had to be up by 5am, had breakfast in O'Sheehans' with the crowd. Exchanged numbers and e-mails, but knew I would never see them again. We left for Barcelona airport and our journey home, then the fun began. For some reason a passenger smelt plastic burning and informed a steward, we were grounded at Barcelona for 4 hours on our plane. Engineers, mechanics and electricians eventually found the fault and we could take off. Everyone wanted sandwiches and drinks. They run out by the time they reached my area of the plane, I had crisps and their last egg sandwich. We all got a complimentary drink, but not alcoholic. Ian, Debbie and I hugged and said our final farewells at Manchester. Steve my driver and good friend picked me up from arrivals and moaned about the weather being too hot and how we could do with some rain. Oh well back to good old Blighty! I really enjoyed the whole studio lounge concept, it works and you meet a cross section of people from all age groups and walks of life. Some you would never mix with under normal circumstances, but in this instance you have something in common the Studios and in most cases travelling solo. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I have now been on the Ncl Epic 3 times and have plenty of knowledge on what to expect and where to go having done both the European and Caribbean Itineraries. I arrived at the port around 10:30 as I know from previous experience that you ... Read More
I have now been on the Ncl Epic 3 times and have plenty of knowledge on what to expect and where to go having done both the European and Caribbean Itineraries. I arrived at the port around 10:30 as I know from previous experience that you will not be allowed on the ship till around 11:30.Check in was pretty easy the lines rather long but moved pretty fast as they have on previous trips. Once on the ship having been on before I have seen it all before so I decided I was going to go for the ultimate beverage Alcohol package which is around $62 a day included gratuity which sounds expensive but if you like a drink or 10 you will definitely save money going for it(only exception is if you like top shelf booze or drinks mixed with red bull as not included).All you have to do to get the package is visit one of the bars and they will get you all signed up.(I think it is worth it and will go for it again). The ship tends to be a bit manic on sail day as everyone charging round the ship all over excited wanting to try everything out.The elevators are a bit of a mare and I would advise you get used to taking the stairs as part of you daily schedule as good exercise. Around 4:30 you go through the ships mandatory evacuation drill which is kind of fun actually but worse part is the bars close(major crises lol). As a solo guest staying in the studio cabins which are fine, rather small but extremely well laid out with everything you need and very funky mood lighting. the shower in the studio cabins are rather small so if you are on the larger side may be an issue. One thing that Norwegian do better than any other cruise line is look after there solo guests on board, every night there is a gathering at the private studio lounge for all singles(6 pm) who meet up and the ship actually assigns a member of staff to book a table a the main dining restaurant the Manhattan room and the singles all go and eat together including the member of staff who in our case was Fernando(very nice guy).Of course if you do not want to hang with the other singles not a problem do your own thing(I did on my previous 2 cruises on this ship). FOOD... The food on this ship is generally pretty good although if you eat at the Manhattan room every night it's pretty much the same old menu usually with a special or 2 but in my opinion the food is not bad although I will say that I believe that the food on the Allure of the Seas which I went on before was better quality. There are plenty of speciality places to go like the Chinese,Brazilian and Sushi places but there are cover charges included on top but it's not extortionately expensive and worth it to go somewhere for a change . One problem though is it can be a bit of a nightmare getting a reservation so book early and don't just turn up expecting to get in or you might be disappointed. Entertainment... There is plenty to do on this ship all through the day and night.I went to see the Blue Man group which is fun but rather weird but worth seeing. My recommendation in the evening is go and see Howl at the Moon really good piano duet that are pretty awesome and is a great laugh. Karaoke is worth watching but beware of terrible singing... The ship have a couple of outside party's on as well like 80's night which is fun but little tip Norwegian ,way to much Michael Jackson plenty of other music from the 80's that could be included and the 80's music finishes to early and switches to modern stuff. You also have bliss nightclub which all the alcoholics all tend to end up in every night once they have spent all there money in the massive casino. I will say that on the European Itineraries as lots of people go on long all day excursions to like Rome and Florence it can get pretty quiet after like 1 AM as everybody that is going on excursions the next day or people that have been out on that day all tend to go to bed pretty early which is a major difference from when the ship is in the Caribbean the party rocks till like 3 AM. Bars.. The part you all really care about. There are plenty of bars scattered throughout the ship some are a little posh for my taste I prefer a good old English style pub where you can grab a burger and O'sheehan's Bar and Grill done the job nicely for me. Also the Ice Bar is really cool yes there is a $19 dollar charge but you get 2 free vodka drinks included and it is a cool experience. Waves pool bar is a good laugh during the day always plenty going on and the staff are funny. If you want to get really hammered try the Martini mixer drink called (stormy night) but you have been warned 4 or 5 and you will be singing with the band... Staff... Generally the staff are very good however I do believe after talking to some of the staff that I know well having met them on previous cruises that the quality has slipped a bit on the Epic,the reason being that many of the best staff have been moved over to the new Norwegian breakaway and you can notice the difference as a few staff in the dining room looked a bit disorganised. Crowds... This can be a bit of an issue the ship has up to 5000 guests and you can feel a bit like a sardine at times ..Avoid the elevators and take the stairs you will need the exercise although walking around this large ship is a challenge. Getting a sun bed is a real headache generally if your not out by 9 AM you are out of luck although a few hidden areas up on deck 19 usually have a few scattered around. POOLS.. Rather small to be honest and full of kids but best place to be is at the back of the ship where it's adults only so the little darlings are not allowed in so peace and quiet can be found.Also a small but nice pool at back to cool off in but beware of the floor it can get extremely hot to walk on. Also a couple of jacuzzi's back there which are really nice. Overall... the Epic is still my favourite ship but standards have slipped a little which must be addressed and a few improvements could be made to some of the entertainment. No other cruise line comes close for the solo guest this ship is the best for them by far. Having done all the Epic's Itineraries I will return once the ship changes it's route which I believe is next year when it switches to the Western Caribbean rather than the Eastern.. Next up for me is the Norwegian Breakaway lets see how it compares..   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was my first time Solo cruising with NCL. It's important to admit that I had a great time on the ship. Their Studio cabin concept makes a lot of sense, and I hope it's widely adopted by most of the other major cruise ... Read More
This was my first time Solo cruising with NCL. It's important to admit that I had a great time on the ship. Their Studio cabin concept makes a lot of sense, and I hope it's widely adopted by most of the other major cruise lines. The ship itself is beautifully appointed and is big enough that even loaded with 4000+ passengers it doesn't feel crowded. At the same time, sometimes it felt more like being inside a mall or big hotel resort than being on a ship. There's so many restaurants, lounges and bars inside that I had to push myself to go top-deck and see the ship sail away on a couple of occasions. There were three things that stopped me from giving this review 5 stars, one of them was my fault, the other 2 may stop me from sailing with NCL in the future: 1. This cruise allows you to board in 3 different ports (Barcelona, Rome and Marseilles). I boarded in Rome due to the lower cost of airfare and the cruise, I will say that I came to regret it since the crew and activities are not prepared for this, ranging from terrible disembarkation procedures in Rome to missing out on a lot of the "Boarding" parties, activities and info, which took place in Barcelona (my 4th port). 2. The focus on up-selling, I enjoyed multiple of the specialty restaurants and thought it was worth paying for them... but the bar staff kept trying to upsell me to bottles of wine when I ordered a glass... ALL the time, it became annoying 3. Most guest services and staff seemed terribly uninformed and rude. I came to understand the concept of "Freestyle cruising" as "We don't do that here" Having said that here's a few things I did want to also add to the review: Dining: I had some great food on the ship. I actually left full all the time, so I definitely got my money's worth in the specialty restaurants. I tried to eat at different places every night. While I appreciated the variety, I know that I was only able to try all of these because I was traveling alone and didn't have to fork out 3+ cover charges for each of the restaurants as would be the case if I was traveling with the rest of my family. Garden Cafe: While this is your standard cruise ship buffet, one thing that I was disappointing by was that it was only open for regular meal times... in other cruise lines this was always my go-to option when eating at irregular times. O'Shehan's: While this place is open 24 hours and you ordered from a menu, I found their options good only at 2 am, when nothing else was available. When I asked for a burger at 10:30 am I was told that was part of their lunch menu that would be available at noon... Since they have the same "menu" all day, I found this confusing that they limited their options based on the time. Taste / Manhattan: The food in both of these main dining rooms was great, and because we went there relatively late we didn't have to wait in line... but I saw huge lines around 8 pm that would dissuade me from eating there. Moderno's churrascaria: was awesome! The only warning is that you have to go in hungry and be happy to leave uncomfortably full, the food was delicious and the service too (one of my friends didn't eat meat and the manager was able to offer her other alternatives) Sushi: I wish I had more time and appetite to try the sushi place more times, they had a couple of rolls that weren't on the menu that were awesome (ask the sushi chef and waiters about these... totally worth it!) La Cuccina: The food was great in this restaurant, since I sailed out of Italy I was a bit worried I'd be disapointed, I wasn't Solo activities: As I mentioned this part was my reason for choosing to cruise on the Epic. I found the concept great, while I was let down by their current implementation of it. While I really came to like our solo activities coordinator as a person, I found her very lacking in her job. When I boarded on "day 3" of the cruise in Rome, she came up to me and the other solo person who had boarded that day and announced that all of the other solo travelers already had dinner plans, so she wanted to find out what the 2 of us felt like doing on our own... this totally blew my mind, it was just 2 of us, and she didn't even try to introduce us or integrate us into the larger group (luckily me and the other solo were not bashful and we introduced ourselves directly). I also had read on some of the reviews that the lounge had a happy hour 2 for 1 drink special during the meet-up time. I was surprised to find out this is no longer the case. Luckily I was able to meet 2 great groups of other solo travelers, and I was never lacking for people to have dinner with, go on our own excursions or just hang out. Disembarkation in Rome: As I mentioned above, this was very poorly managed and planned for if you wanted to get off early. I had a relatively early flight to catch and I expected to be able to carry my suitcase off the ship as I've done in other cruise lines in the past (normally being allowed to get off before the people who put their suitcases out). Since Rome is not a final port, the crew had everybody line up to get off at the same time, meaning people disembarking and people going off on their own excursions. The line was a huge mess and the staff was completely unhelpful in this regard. In the future it'd be a lot easier if they had people disembarking take one exit and people going on excursions go down the other gangway... the fact this wasn't done simply reiterated to me the crew and ship didn't care too much about passengers boarding in Rome and other ports. Overall I had a great week at sea and met a lot of great people, but in the future I may go with another cruise line due to all the "little" details that made this vacation seem more like work than relaxation... Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I did quite a bit of research before this cruise to find something that would suit my likes and budget. I'm 66, retired and travel on my own. Looking for reasonable comfort, quality food and sunshine. I quickly honed in on NCL and ... Read More
I did quite a bit of research before this cruise to find something that would suit my likes and budget. I'm 66, retired and travel on my own. Looking for reasonable comfort, quality food and sunshine. I quickly honed in on NCL and especially the Norwegian Epic. I really liked their concept of Freestyle Dining, large choice of restaurants and the Epic's studio cabins. They looked well designed and appointed. And the pricing worked out within my budget. I don't need an outside cabin. Couldn't find anyone else with this sort of offering. In choosing late August I managed a balance between price and, I hoped, good weather. Whilst I'm not too bothered about the itinerary, it still offered some interesting ports should I decide to explore. I stayed before the cruise with friends in the south of Spain and then got the hi-speed AVE direct from Malaga to Barcelona. Stayed overnight at the Barcelo Sants hotel directly above the station. Excellent value, recommended. That evening went out for some tapas just off Las Ramblas with some fellow cruisers I'd met on-line through a roll call on cruisecritic.com. (We then had a meeting with some of the officers on the first day at sea which gave us some contacts if we needed them. I was also able to meet and get to know quite a few people on the cruise. Recommend you join a roll call.) A taxi down to the port had a surcharge on it (13 euros?) but it was easier for me than getting the metro and then finding the shuttle bus. Arrived at 10:30, checked-in in 10 minutes and then had to wait around 45 minutes to board (I think they started boarding at 11:00). So very easy and hassle free. Our cabins were ready an hour or so later and my luggage was in my cabin. I had a studio cabin in deck 12, forward and next to the private studio lounge. I was very impressed with the studio. Clean, modern design with a surprising amount of space. Separate toilet and shower, large double bed and excellent bedding and pillows - very comfortable. Not much space at the side of the bed was a minor drawback. I would definitely recommend this type of cabin for any single traveller. I should also add that the cabin steward was first class although I couldn't understand at first why he knocked on my door as I was getting ready for dinner. It took me 2 days to realise there was a circular 'do not disturb/ready for cleaning' disc on the door! I wandered round the ship for a while and was generally impressed with its design, layout and the space of the public areas. I had dinner that night in the Taste Contemporary restaurant. A bit surprised about how good the food was and the service was excellent. I had a very minor complaint and it was dealt with quickly and efficiently by the maitre d(spelling?). I had dinner there a couple of times more and breakfast every morning and was always satisfied - except, as usual, for the tea. I can never get waiters to follow the instructions on the tea bag and add boiling water to the tea bag - very British (well, I'm actually Scottish). I purchased an internet wi-fi package for my iPad - just to download the Guardian each day as I'm a news addict. It worked well. I also purchased a week long pass to the Posh sunbathing area - I think it was around $75. I do like my comforts when sunbathing and this turned out to be great for me. It is forward, up 3 decks by outside lift from the pool deck which it overlooks. With a bar, lots of very comfortable loungers and chairs, it was only half full on the sea day and almost empty most other days. Recommended if it appeals to you. There is also a similar area on the same deck at the bow (no bar or shade) but sometimes you couldn't access it and I never got a clear answer as to whether it was reserved for Haven guest or not. During the cruise I didn't go on any excursions. I though the NCL excursions were very expensive. I was also worried about crowds/traffic in the heat when visiting the Amalfi Coast, Rome and Florence (I've been to all these places before even if it was many years ago - around 50 if you must ask). So I didn't join up with some of my fellow roll call members who had organised their own tours for much less than the NCL ones. It seems it is possible to find independent tours in most ports for a very reasonable price if you can find 5 or 6 others. I only went ashore in Naples and Livorno. Naples was easy to explore as there were several open-top, jump on/off buses which left from outside the dock - less than a 5 minute walk from the Epic. I took one which took us up to a park high above the city. Great views. In Livorno there was a shuttle into town which took a while to get out of the dock area - maybe 15 minutes in all. I think there was a small charge. The tourist people at the dock handed out a leaflet which detailed 4 walking tours (about an hour each, walking slowly, no hills, on your own) which I found great. I took one tour featuring markets and canals. Livorno is a pleasant town well worth wandering round. I ate most nights in one or other of the speciality restaurants (extra charge $15 to $25). Food and service were generally very good. I particularly enjoyed Shanghai and the noodle bar. The meal I had in Le Bistro was not as good as the others. I would particularly like to complement the range and quality of the food in the buffet. It was superior to any others I have had of this type. I never had a problem finding a table when I went right up to the seating in the bow. After dinner each night I enjoyed strolling around and listening to the various music options. It was great to be listening to a pianist with a glass of wine one moment, sampling the 'duelling pianos' the next, and then having a beer in Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club. Where else, other than on a cruise, would you have such easy access to such entertainment. And all the musicians seemed to be of a high standard. Of the shows the only one I tried was the Blue Man Group. I just wandered in one evening without a reservation. There were plenty of seats. They were very funny and inventive so you should try them out if you are on the Epic. A trifle long for me ( an hour is enough) but it was easy to leave without disturbing anyone else. Disembarkation back in Barcelona was easy and well run. The only minor problem was that I got to the airport far too early. In summary, everything about the cruise met, or were greater than, my expectations. Both NCL and the Epic provide a first class and good value product to be highly recommended. Only if you enjoy something smaller or more intimate should you not consider cruising with them. And even then, the Haven suites might suit you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Comparing prices with a land based holiday for a solo traveller it was a no brainer to choose a single cabin on Epic. No extra surchage. Have never had holiday on my own but having cruised before knew that I would be far safer onboard ... Read More
Comparing prices with a land based holiday for a solo traveller it was a no brainer to choose a single cabin on Epic. No extra surchage. Have never had holiday on my own but having cruised before knew that I would be far safer onboard ship. If you are considering a holiday on your own do Epic. I would highly recommend everything about this ship. We were well catered for. The solo cabins are so well designed I never felt claustrophobic, the lighting is a clever trick, appears like daylight coming into the room. As per previous threads - use the baskets under the bed for storage. I had to ask for beach towel and hairdryer as these were not in room when I arrived, were delivered soon after. I had booked 3 excursions via the excellent Cruise Critic website and enjoyed brilliant trips with Aldos Limos ( Naples) Simply Amalfi ( Livorno) and Share a Shore ( Best of Rome)Shared the cost with others and had amazing trips - highly recommended. I did not use the trips offered by the ship. Cannes, took the tender to shore and hopped on little white train ( good) then took a boat to St. Margaret Island ( offers great views of Cannes )At Marseille it is too far to walk from ship so they offer coaches and charge your account. The harbour at Marseille will be lovely at some time but for now is covered in wire fencing as they are working on it. Took little white train ( get there early or you will be in a queue)and took the trip to the church at the top. Well worth it and stunning views. We had a solo organiser ( Viani)to help introduce ourselves and arrange a table so we could eat together if we wanted. Sometimes I did but as the table was booked for an early reservation sometimes I ate alone in the Manhattan as it was too rushed to make it if I had been on a trip. You need to try to get to Manhattan earlier rather than later otherwise you will be sat for what seems an eternity between courses - not good when you are on your own ! I asked to sit by window and managed this on two occasions which is better ( even had added bonus of seeing an energetic dolphin when we sailed out of Rome ) I loved everything about this happy ship - danced till past two one night, joined up with other solos in O'Sheehans most nights. We laughed till we cried and had a brilliant time. Thank you my fellow solo's for making this a holiday to remember. Just wish the alcohol wasn't so expensive - although to be fair the measures are generous.... and would rather tip staff who I think deserve it than for it to be put on my bill ( you can ask for it to be reduced but they dont make the process easy I believe...)I would definatley go NCL again and would recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
After having gone on multiple cruises over the years, this 51 single male decided to go on my first European Cruise on the Norwegian Epic, and I was not disappointed. First off, a tip of the hat to O'Sheehan's bartender Rommel ... Read More
After having gone on multiple cruises over the years, this 51 single male decided to go on my first European Cruise on the Norwegian Epic, and I was not disappointed. First off, a tip of the hat to O'Sheehan's bartender Rommel from Manila and RogeLisa from dining services as they truely expemplified the Best of the Best in terms of service, helpfullness, attentiveness and overall work ethic. They really made my experience a special one, so if any crew members are reading this, tell them "Mr. Eric" gives them a Big "Thumbs Up!" Also, Reggie, my Studio cabin steward was extremely freindly as well, and all of them continued to use my name throughout the cruise, which really makes a difference in being made to feel "special." Overall, I had done the research on this cruise and knew exactly what to expect. The highlights were the 3 Italian ports of call: Naples, Rome & Florence. I went with a private tour group of 8 that had been organized by the Harris Family out of Rhode Island, and with RomeinLimo.com, I was not disappointed. In fact, I am going out of my way here to say how professional, courteous and wonderful all the drivers and tourguides were from this company, not to mention the fact that we all saved bundles of money by going through them rather than the overpriced NCL tours. And here I will tell you the story of "Mike," a romeinlimo driver who guided us around Rome for a wonderful day. At the Vatican, I got lost in St. Peter's Square after turning to snap a photo, and turning back my group was gone! It would've been a $350 cab ride back to the ship, but I hung around a taxi stand exit, and Mike came to rescue me! Thanks Mike! The fact that you travel in air-conditioned Mercedes vans vs. NCL's mega buses is probably the biggest difference in the quality of your experience, and definitely worth the time it take to organize a group before you go on romeinlimo/sharing.com. That being said, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii Tour, Collesseum, Tuscany Wine Tasting and San Gianamgo experiences were the best I've ever had, on any cruise. The ship is what you would expect it to be with over 4000 passengers, it's basically "Vegas" on the water, with the Casino being the focal point on deck 6. The dining rooms (Taste & Manhatten) were more than wonderful, although I prefer the intimacy of Taste over the expansiveness of Manhatten. Saw the Blue Man Group, it was funny to a point, but I left early as I've seen this kind of shctick before. Cannes was nothing special in my opinion, Marseilles I wish I had taken the Aix and Provence Tours, but decided to relax and get some sun near the minature pool & hot tup at the rear of the ship on deck 15 (H20) - for adults only, AND appreciated, as the rug rats ran with abandon near the Splash Pool Bar amidship. My home away from home was O'Sheehan's Pub, they have excellent fish & ships, cheeseburgers, and the meatloaf was to die for! All complimentary, of course. I wound up spending around $500 for drinks throughout the 6 days onboard, and didn't mind the $12 service fee charged daily as it was warrented. Would I do this same cruise again? Probably not, but not because I didn't enjoy myself thoroughly, but because I will probably go with a Royal Carribean cruise next time around as I appreciate a more traditional ship style that doesn't try to wring every nickle & dime out of you on your vacation. All in all, an 8 out of 10 experience for me...well done, Epic Staff & especially the crew from Rome in Limo! By all means, book them, you won't be sorry! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have just taken our 2nd cruise this time on the NCL EPIC and much as I was concerned about crowding issues they have designed the ship very well and this is hardly ever a problem Cabin - this was great, had required safe, fridge, ... Read More
We have just taken our 2nd cruise this time on the NCL EPIC and much as I was concerned about crowding issues they have designed the ship very well and this is hardly ever a problem Cabin - this was great, had required safe, fridge, coffee machine with drinkable coffee supplied (note ensure if you take a kettle you do not leave it visible when not in cabin we go told off) the bathroom area whilst a little unusual is not a problem - loo on left hand side shower on right hand side off corridor and there is a curtain you can pull across to close both these areas off from the main cabin - only problem I would foresee was in the unlikely event room service arrived whilst you were using one or other! The cabin girl was great she made herself known to us from early on was very attentive helped us out with a small problem we had with a suitcase lock by drafting in a joiner and was always friendly and asking if we needed anything else. The flat screen TV in the room is great you can watch TV, check your on line account status, book excursions, view restaurant menus & book seats - a fantastic idea all in all. Food - we ate at the garden cafe and O'Sheehans mostly - Garden cafe got really crowded from 7pm onwards so we often went about 5.30pm when it was easier to get a table. Plenty of choice (compared to the Jade last year not as well organised and not as much choice) salads, soups, breads pizzas sausages burgers, hot carvery vegetarian indian section - all food was well cooked and tasty just not very inspiring. O'Sheehans - mainly burgers, hot dogs etc so a limited menu of deep fried items the exception to the rule being a Salmon & Avocado salad which was nice. Room Service - we used this one day - arrived very promptly and were quite large portions considering this is a Free service was very good Sun decks The first day was a full day at sea which i was dreading due to the experience of overcrowding last year on the Jade - I was wrong - although many people were out and about on deck it did not feel overcrowded and you could always find a lounger. We went to deck 18 the first day which is a haven as few people go up that high was good and at the very front of the ship there is the 'Posh' seating area which always seemed to be open if you wanted to sit on soft furnishings. Our other days at sea were spent at the adults only H20 club at the rear of the ship this is a really nice area with its own bar and small pool under a large TV screen also a few hot tubs on each side much quieter than the main deck. Entertainment We saw Blue Man Group which my husband loved & I thought was OK we also booked for the Cirque Dreams dinner - this was excellent although at $35 per person somewhat pricey - you do get food for this but a set menu and no drinks (do not believe the myths that once in you can NOT leave this is discouraged but NOT true) we had premium seats so were sat just on the outskirts of their stage so you had a great view but were petrified of being dragged up to participate - be warned! It is worth mentioning you do have to book to go to these entertainments as someone we met had not known this therefore not managed to attend any shows Shops & Photos There are quite a few shops selling sweets, sun products, T Shirts, jewellery & a duty free shop with drink, tobacco & perfume all on the same deck- they do have 'SALES' throughout the week so listen out. You will find your photo being taken by NCL staff on a number of occasions and you can even have them take your photo in the evenings against a back drop - there is a photo station on one of the decks where you will find a binder for your cabin with all the photos they have taken in it you can then choose which if any to buy - beware expensive !! We got a CD of 6 photos for $99. Ports - Barcelona, Naples, Citavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence and Pisa), Cannes and Marseilles Naples - we had booked a private driver through APT tours - this was great. We were met my Aarron just outside the entrance with his Mercedes we were then driven to Pompeii with Aarron giving us information of things we passed along the way . At Pompeii we met Louisa (our archeological guide) who took us around Pompeii for a few hours - I am really glad we paid the extra for this service as it brought the place to live and we could stop when we wanted and ask question all of which is not available to you when you book a large group tour or take on of the pre recorded machines on the tour. After being here Aarron picked us up again and drove us the 1.5hrs to Sorrento he stopped along the way for photo shoots and at interesting points when we got to Sorrento he recommended a few places for the best food, Lemoncello & Gelato and left us for a few hours. We wandered around and tried the best Gelato and Lemoncello a lovely town if somewhat busy we also wandered down to the Sea where some of the Hotels have spectacular views. After 2 hours we were collected and driven back to the Port and by this time we were chatting away to Aarron like long lost friends the whole tour including entrance fee & Arch guide cost us about 390 Euros but was worth it and would certainly use or recommend APT again. Livorno - we had booked an NCL tour to take us to Florence with a quick stop at Pizza. There is a lot of driving involved in this one. It took us about 45 minutes to get to Pizza and then we had a little walk from the coach drop to Miracle Square - the place was stunning with immaculate gardens, lots of local traders on the outside of the walls and lots of lovely buildings not just the tower within the grounds I could happily have spend a good half day here. We then went on to Florence - we had a guide on the coach who was pointing out places of interest along the way and gave us a map of Florence on which he had marked a few extra points of interest. Again he walked us from the coach park into Florence took us to a leather shop which was where we met later and then left us to do our own thing we had about 3.5hrs in Florence we headed for the Domo and then we just ambled along the streets taking in the atmosphere. Our return journey was about 1.5hrs so back on the ship about 5pm ish - another good tour but pricey at $129 per person. Cannes - we had booked an NCL tour here to take us to the walled village of St Paul de Vince - beware on these as the start time is from the mainland and as you have to get a tender across this can take between 30 & 45 minutes of queuing before your get to the other side. We were then taken to a perfume factory which I thought was just a brief stop but was nearer to 2 hours worth we then set off up in to the hills on very narrow bendy roads so the journey took some considerable time. When we go there we had about a 15 min walk from coach stop to entrance to St Paul' s which really only left us with about 1 hour to explore which was very disappointing as this was a lovely old quaint village with some great unusual shops and again i could easily have spent an entire afternoon here. The other Ports we did not get off at and instead enjoyed a quieter day on the ship Embarkation & Dis embarkation - this was far quicker than we experienced previously on the Jade which was impressive and we had our bags with us until Mid night of the night prior to disembarkation day. All in all a great holiday which would certainly encourage us to cruise with NCL in the future Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was the second time I had the pleasure of the EPIC and the first as a solo. I was much more impressed with the EPIC this time. Loved her the first time, but after having more time onboard, was able to find even better reviews and ... Read More
This was the second time I had the pleasure of the EPIC and the first as a solo. I was much more impressed with the EPIC this time. Loved her the first time, but after having more time onboard, was able to find even better reviews and places and entertainment. The fact I was solo, also meant I discovered the exclusive studio staterooms and lounge. I am only 26. Quite young for a solo cruiser. I travel solo as a it means I can do exactly what I want, but more importantly I don't have many family or friends who could afford a journey like this. I booked the cruise, as a fly cruise package, including flights with British Airways, transfers between the airport, hotel and port, a pre-cruise hotel, and porter fees at the hotel and at the port. A Very good package. I booked this through a local travel agent when they were offering 10% off. I flew to Miami the night before. A very nice flight, well served by British Airways staff. At the airport I was met by a NCL rep and transported to an airport hotel. (Sofitel Miami). This was a lovely hotel, room only, but had a starbucks in the foyer, outdoor pool, bar and restaurant. I believe there was also a fitness center. A shopping center was about 10 minute walk away. I was only here for 1 night and I was satisfied. The hotel also had a NCL rep who explained the procedure for embarking the cruise in the morning, and shuttle bus time. The next morning the hotel foyer was filled with passengers for the cruise buses. We were transferred to the port arriving around 12. It was unclear at the terminal where to go. On my documentation I had down a terminal for check in, but this was closed. As the ship was only half full I anticipated that one terminal was closed for this. There was a queue for security of about 30 minutes, but check in was quick. Unfortunately I wasn't directed to the latitudes check in. (I was entitled to). I somehow missed picking up a daily - noted passengers carrying these after security, asked and got one at check in. Was able to board the ship straight after check in. Had the cringing picture before getting on board... wish I could opt out of these. We embark the ship on deck 6 by the theatre. Met by officers welcoming you to the ship. Very nice atmosphere. Sooo, what facilities: The EPIC has pretty much everything you could ever need for a lengthy vacation: Mandara Spa and salon, fitness center 2 pools on the main pool deck, 1 pool in Spice H20 - bar at the back, adults only About 6-7 Jacuzzis, a couple adult only 3 water slides 2 main dining rooms, Irish bar (24 hour food) and 2 buffets (indoor/outdoor) all complimentary. Various locations for complimentary drinks: tea, coffee, some fruit juices - available all day on this cruise, iced tea and water. Cake and pastries - complimentary from the atrium cafe Amazing entertainment - Blue man group, legends, howl at the moon, jeff hobson, slam allen, twice as nice, and various other entertainment - music, comedy, improvisation.. lots and lots! Private access to studio lounge (for passengers in studio cabins) Could purchase access to POSH (haven area) Currency exchange Art gallery and auctions Photo gallery Cruise consultants available Gift and liquor shops etc etc etc Stateroom: I was in a studio stateroom. Ideal for solo travellers. On some cruises these are cheaper for a solo guest on others slightly more expensive. I view these as a upgrade to a inside stateroom as: -They have mood lighting - Lovely toilet/shower area - Free chocolate every evening - private access to the studio lounge - the only place for getting complimentary cappuccino, espresso based drinks, cakes/pastries/continental breakfast. This is an ideal space to meet fellow solo travellers and was the location of the daily solo travellers gathering. A very well used space. There was also a bar here, open during the evening. - the daily towel animal guessing game in the stateroom each evening was fun. The service on the ship was second to none. This stood out more than my previous cruise. The staff seemed willing to serve all the time. Anticipated needs well. And ALL staff even if walking past will say hello, INCLUDING officers. The officers were very visible and approachable. Several meet and mingles took place during our cruise, the officers even attended the cruise critic meet and mingle. For the cruise critic lunch, a chefs table special menu was created, which is part of the menu for the special captains table meals... very very impressed! I also noted several passengers were offered free bottles of wine, when enquiring at guest services about separate issues even if not complaining. This was especially true of passengers who were on back to back cruises. I totally believe NCL looks after its guests well. I only ate in complimentary dining options, there were numerous speciality restaurants but I didn't feel the need for these as the food was AMAZING!! I ate half and half between the main dining room, and the buffet and 24 hour bar O'sheehans. The menus seemed to be quite mixed, only issue for me was lack of Indian curry options in the main dining rooms, and lack of really spicy dishes. A comment could be made the English style fish and chips is nothing like the real thing... but it was all good quality and I didn't leave any food behind on my plate! Entertainment: Many complimentary options, a few with charges (second city murder mystery and cirque dreams) I was disappointed Blue Man show was exactly the same, so would prefer that show to be revamped with new content. There was an amazing magician on our ship - Jeff Hobson, now cruising NCL and alaska I believe. And many amazing musical acts, all very good. I didn't feel the legends show was upto scratch, was extremely disappointed by the adult feel of the madonna act, and would prefer this to be scaled back to be more family friendly. Activities: LOTS to do on boards, several things on every hour as per the freestyle daily listings. Game shows, talent shows, cooking demonstrations, quizzes, special interest groups... you name it you got it (or can suggest it) A very good team of cruise directors. The highlight for me was the solo travellers gathering lead by Meaghan. Only comment, lets meet just after lunch on a sea day so we can spend MORE time planning activities together, and later on a sailaway day as sailaway often clashed with the meeting. Pool area: I agree the pools could be quicker, but on my cruise perfectly adequate (I didn't go on the cruise to go swimming). Plenty of Jacuzzis, water slides had no queues. Easy to find loungers on this cruise (half capacity ship). Weather; The sea and weather conditions were very good for a TA. WE had a couple of days of windy and choppy conditions, but otherwise, cloudy, temperature mid 20C but due to breeze did give enough sunlight strength for tanning. Port Stop: Ponta Delgada Azores. Highly recommended stop. A unspoilt, island. Wonderful landscape. Ship docks right in the town, so no need for excursion if not required. I took an excursion for $59, took me to pineapple plantation, garden, and several crater lakes. We had a clear day - amazing landscape! Would love to revisit. The excursion, allowed enough time at the end to shop and get souvenirs. Disembarkment was quick, embarkment was quick. There was a alcohol drop off zone. I would definitely do this cruise again. The cost is less than a 7 day itinerary on EPIC and you get more time onboard. Very good value, and as the ship rarely sails full on this itinerary more space to enjoy the facilities without the ship feeling too full. I was able to buy a cruise reward onboard and I'm trying to work out if I want to book the TA next year (via Marseilles) or to try one of NCL's older ships without the studio concept... its a tricky choice. Definitely do the TA if you haven't had chance. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
had booked NCL Air package from Manchester UK. The flights were with Jet2 who I hadn't used before but found very good. They allowed me to check in online and print my boarding pass before I headed to the airport which saved a lot of ... Read More
had booked NCL Air package from Manchester UK. The flights were with Jet2 who I hadn't used before but found very good. They allowed me to check in online and print my boarding pass before I headed to the airport which saved a lot of time on the morning. Landed at Terminal 2 in BCN on-time and luggage arrived quickly. The NCL rep was there waiting but said the transfer coach would be soon, then 10-15 mins, then 20-30. I reckon we waited about 40 minutes in the end before boarding the coach and heading via T1 to pick up some more passengers and head the 20mins drive to the port. We arrived at the port at about 13:30. After the check-in fiasco mentioned above I eventually got onboard just after 2PM. As last year they boarded via the Promenade deck which always seems odd as a first sight of a ship walking along and into the stairwells. Knowing the ship I headed to my inside cabin deck 9 foreward and it was ready, a quick check of where my Muster station was (In the Epic Theatre) and I always take a change of clothes in hand luggage to slip into shorts/t-shirt and headed up onto deck. Popped into the Garden Cafe and grabbed a nice salad, the rush was over by this time so got a window seat admiring the view over Barcelona. Windows could have done with a clean mind you A quick beer at Spice H2O and a look around the ship showed that she was as I had left her a year ago, maybe the carpets starting to show some 2yrs wear. Muster Drill was at 4:30 so I headed down to the theatre at about 4:20 and most people were already heading there, last year they scanned my cruise card this year it seemed to be low-tech as they had a printed list!! Dragged on a bit longer than last years with it repeated in different languages. Went up for the sail-away where we were introduced to the CD "Richard from Dominican Republic" , I don't think I ever heard his last name as it was always Richard from the Dominican Republic .. The solo travellers meeting was at 6:30PM so I popped down to see that, a handful or so, not as many as last time, and signed up for the meal in Taste on the Monday night. I think this and the Mon was my only time in the Studio Lounge as I was inside and key card doesnt allow access, I've read elsewhere it does seem a bit hit and miss for solos not in the Studios but the doors are opened for the meetings. But you miss the opportunity to review the messages posted by fellow passengers. Back to the cabin and last time they left my case outside and so I didnt see it in the corridor and thought not arrived but it had been placed inside the cabin. Lots of paper stuff on the bed, Except a daily of what was happening that evening, I also had shore excursion tickets for 2 neighboring cabins which I re-delivered, again enough said about my Room Steward (worst in all my cruises to be honest). I didnt fancy a big meal so after unpacking I popped to O'Sheehans for a lovely chicken pot-pie and and a slice of apple pie and cream.. with a large draught of Newcastle of course! The welcome aboard show was at 9PM in Spice, went up and Richard FTDP was there with a few CD staff and they outnumbered the passengers, he carried on but it was probably embarassing from them. I had a drink and headed back inside and spent the night at Howl at the Moon in headliners from 9:45-1:30 before nipping upstairs to Bliss for a couple of hours. For us Brits we lose an hour so leaving at 3AM was more like 2AM before heading to O'Sheehans for some spicey wings and some ice water before bed and a long deep sleep... Day 2 - At Sea The only Sea day and due to the previous nights partying a late-ish start around 10/11 so missed the meet and greet which someone had planned for 8:30 (silly time! ) . Got the last orders for a nice cooked country platter at O'Sheehan's. I tell you this place is the best. The waitress kept me tanked up with orange juice and tea and toast and.. Grabbed my ipad and some sun lotion and headed up to deck 18 sundeck and as before half empty wherwas the main pool decks were a bit busy. I'd asked staff and we were sailing at around 3900 pax, they only had about 2,000 on the crossing, but were picking up 600 in Rome (and some getting off to take us nearer 4000 for the 2nd half of the cruise) Dinner for solos was booked for 6:30 in Taste so we met in the lounge and headed down to have a nice dinner (I went for the Ceaser Salad, Atlantic Cod and cheesecake). Left feeling a lot fuller at around 8:30. I'd met some really great fellow pax the night before at Howl and so we took up our usual spot and sang and drank and chatted before heading to Bliss again.. You'll probably spot a trend soon.. Day 3 - Naples I've been to Naples at least a half-dozen times before but was awoken by the loud tones of Richard from.. err.. anyway informing us light sleepers that we could now go ashore ... I'd booked Legends in Concert for this evening 10PM performance, Sun decks empty and Sun was out so I curled up with my ipad and a good book until sail-away which was due to be a special 60s one at Spice at 6PM. The problem with such late sailaways 7PM is that its A) colder outside and B) clashes a bit with when to have/get ready for dinner so they are often scarcely attended. By contrast the 4:30 from Marseille one was so much better. Anyhow due to an accident on the roads to Sorrento a number of tour coaches had been held up and so sail-away was delayed, the capt first said 0.5hr and then 1hr. After a hr some indepenent travellers could be seen sprinting from a taxi (obviously they had been caught up as well, fortunately for them the tour coaches had been else they would have been left). Sailaway party was cancelled, I think we sailed about 9ish, can't recall as I went down to O'Sheehans for a pint and then off to see Legends which was much better than last years acts. Madonna is always a good pull. It was the last Howl at the Moon for 3 nights, they do 3 nights, miss 3 then 1 (the last night) as on the alternate days the venue is used by the other acts.. Day 4 - Civitavecchia We were docked alongside a couple of other ships but with the late departure from Naples the night before and some work being done on the Starboard side gangway were docked bow in which led for an interesting late departure and manoeuvre. The port authority here provide a FREE, yes FREE shuttle bus service from ship to the exit of the port. Last bus back at 6PM. We were late leaving again, about 8PM when we eventually sailed but it did allow for some great sunset shots. No howl at the moon tonight or any booked ents so it was 70s Disco night from 10PM at Bliss. Day 5 - Livorno So first some important info, as they did last year due to the nature of this industrial port no foot passengers. Instead a shuttle bus was required to take you to downtown at a cost of €5.00 or $7.00 per person unless you caught the taxis on quayside or on an NCL excursion. Tonights ents I had booked the great Lost Locos Ole. As there was NO comedian onboard this was the only comedy act that needs to be reserved as its in the headliners bar. I went for an early showing at 7:30PM to do other things, the performance was about 50mins and then on to Fat Cats to see Slam Allen. Last year I got some great vid clips of this but it appears they have tightened this up along with the Blue Man/Lost locos/Legends etc with a no pic/vid policy, although odd nights it said it in the daily, other nights it didnt have the ^ restriction, I tried I got told off.. Finished with the 80s remix party in Bliss. I also booked as suggested over the tannoy by Richard, you know the bloke from Dominican Republican to reserver my tender ticket for tomorrow in Cannes, I decided to go for the late one near 11, simple to do via the iTV like booking events. Day 6 - Cannes A tendering port and according to the captain the first time Epic had done it, I'm sure they must have tendered into a Caribbean port at some stage?? anyone? Anyhow as explained in the early post on this thread. You scan you card to get entry no earlier than 10mins before your time slot and they allow two lots into the Manhattan Room, one left, one right side. Then after a few mins sitting down you get taken down to the tender embarkation on deck 4, the lifts on these decks are locked out to stop people from attempting to sneak on. We were in with Liberty of the Seas (who were using the ports tenders, Epic using her lifeboats) but the town as you can imagine was very busy. I stayed about 2-3 hrs walking around and on the beach before catching one of the tenders that now ran freely every 10 or so minutes for the approx 15mins trip back to the ship. Even though I'd seen them before I had booked the Blue Man group for 10:00 again for tonight the week before, I hadn't realised that it clashed with the White Hot Party at 10:30 but the Blue Man Group performance on the Sat at 7:30PM was half empty so I switched. The white hot Party started at 10:30, was just getting going when all of a sudden this bloke Richard (I think he's from some Caribbean island) said that he'd had a call from the bridge to say high winds ahead and it had to be relocated inside. Chaos then followed as both the main white hot party as well as the family white hot party were relocated to Bliss which was mid Karaoke session. The most packed I have ever seen the place and I didnt think it was very appropriate with the kids in there with lots of alcohol and adults enjoying themselves as it was after 11PM now!! Why they didnt move the kids party into say Entourage I don't know!! Day 7 - Marseille I've said it before but 7 day cruises are too short but as most Americans tend to get only a few days holiday as opposed to Europeans who average about 5 weeks paid holiday a year I can see why they only do one week itineraries I would love it to do at least a few 2-week itineraries But this was our last day and as we had to ensure early arrival in Barcelona for change-over the ship was only in port until 4PM. All onboard by 3:30PM. The first big shock was that port berth is just over 3 miles away from the city but to get there the shuttle bus was $20 per person (not 30 as I mentioned earlier), still a big amount if there are two or three of you in your group just to get there for a few hours. A lot stayed onboard and some who ventured out did find a public transport bus a mile or so walk away for a couple of euro into town. The sailaway however was the best as it was early and so people were on deck as opposed to getting ready for dinner or even ents that started at 7PM. All the luggage tags had been delivered, I'll scan in the disembarkation bit but its early!! between 5:30 and 9:00am. I had an NCL flight at 12:45 from BCN airport and had to be off at 7AM! It kind of spoils it as it means that the last night ents is curtailed somewhat. I saw Blue Man at 7:30 and then just caught the first part of the last howl at the moon. Cases have to be outside your cabin by midnight. Day 8 - Barcelona So the time comes to say farewell, quickly rush gulp down some breakfast and head out to scan out, I was a bit late at 7:15ish and my case had already been removed from the belt in the luggage reclaim area and stacked. Out to the transfer bus and back to the airport where we were left 5hrs!! before our flight and 3hrs before we could even check-in to get to the departure lounges/shops etc.. so that first 3hrs dragged. Overall, a great cruise, and I would definitely sail on NCl and Epic again, I'm booked on Breakaway next year and I know that will be even better!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
So arrived at Barcelona terminal at approx 1145am for earliest check in from 1230......I was on the ship at 1210!!! abd that was after having checked in, deposited cash to my account (I don't like to use credit/debit cards n cruises ... Read More
So arrived at Barcelona terminal at approx 1145am for earliest check in from 1230......I was on the ship at 1210!!! abd that was after having checked in, deposited cash to my account (I don't like to use credit/debit cards n cruises as they take large pre-authorisations). Cabins would not be ready until approx 1430 but that was ok went straight to towel station next to WAVES got mysef a towel then straight down to SPICE/H20 the adults only area for some ray catching and how pleasant it was. I had only just sat down on the sunbed when an announcement was made to say all cabins were now available and it was only 1300Hrs. All in all check-in was faultless. First night in the Studio Lounge/Living Room was fairly well attended, considering there are 128 Studios there were only around 25 people who used the area but I think this has a lot to do with people travelling in larger groups so many staying in studios were part of friends etc and didnt need to use the facility. Anyway instant conversations were started, Nataliem our host had us all intro etc,,,,the only down side if anything was that there were two of us men and approx 23 women lol.....but ewe had a great laugh and infact that very first night 8 of us went to dinner together in the Italian restaurant. This 8 became a core group until eventually on the last night there were 12 of us for dinner so you need never be alone as have already said. Studios are funky spaces to sleep in without a doubt....I loved them and would definately book again.....better to book either 12518/20 or 12517/19 as they are three doors away from the lounge so you dont get the door noise but handy in a morning to slip a pair of shorts on and nip down to the studio to get ureself a coffee and croissant to take back to bed before a proper breakfast. That was the only minus in the studios not enough space for tea/coffee making facilities. The ship itself is fantastic, plenty to do and you dont feel crowded even when all 4800 pax are on board. The only criticism here is that sunbeds are routinely reserved by twoel for hours on end and then not even used in some cases despite the daily news asking people not to reserve them and that towels/books etc would be removed after one hour if not used.....this NEVER happened and needs to be more rigourously looked at by NCL staff. My only gripes were the excessive charges for drinks £5 for a less than a pint of draught lager and £26 for the cheapest Pinot Grigio,.....far more expensive than either Cunard or P&O. The only other issue is the automatic $12 dollars a day service charge added to your account, have it removed I did, and no I didnt wait until the Saturday that they try and insist you do....hoping you will forget or not bother as the queues on the Sat are long at guest services,,,,remove them there and then and as for giving a reason just draw a line though it....it is discretionary after all. Oh and the over priced excursions do it yourself you will see more anyway!!! so all in all I would give it a 9/10 Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
What a Cruise ! I am only 24 hours home and I want to go again !. To start from the begining this was my first holiday alone and my first cruise so it was a daunting experience even to make the decision to book. I'm in my late ... Read More
What a Cruise ! I am only 24 hours home and I want to go again !. To start from the begining this was my first holiday alone and my first cruise so it was a daunting experience even to make the decision to book. I'm in my late 30's and was fed up depending on family and married friends to fit me in to their schedules so I studied the single solo holiday market and read about Epic Studio Cabins and what they had to offer... I went for it and prepared for a week of solitude as I headed off to Barcelona. I must admit I was extremely worried I had made a mistake and was all geared up to spend my time alone at the bar explaining myself - how wrong I was. I read a lot of comment about Epic solo cabins(good and bad) and had prepared myself for the worst just in case. The reality is the cruise, the ship, the rooms, the people, the food, the staff are down to individual taste and standards. My standards are high and looking back on it now some of the negative comments I read about Epic Solo are really very minor issues when you take the overall experience into account. As regards the Ship itself it is huge and there are plenty of entertainment and dining options which other travellers will tell you about. I want to concentrate on the solo experience so here goes... My cabin was perfect. I read complaints about the size of the cabins but for me they were absolutely sufficient for a solo organised tidy traveller. I read hairdryers were not included - they are now. I read complaints about the storage - for me there was plenty. I read that light came in from the hallway and under the doors - I didnt notice this. Overall the cabins were fantastic and the beds very comfortable perfectly suitable for 1 (but not two in a studio). I attended the solo meeting the first day which is a vital link in the chain of events which led to my fantastic experience. The meeting happens at 6pm each evening and is the first opportunity to meet other fellow travellers who feel like you do. Its not pushy - some people opted in while others opted out. Those who did opt in were not dissapointed. I met a wonderful group of about 10 fantastic solos with an array of different backgrounds and ages the first evening. After a couple of drinks we bonded really well and from thereon we shared many experiences throughout the week. Being there the first night was very important as this is when the core group really got together. Through some easy planning and use of the notice board we dined together in various groups, took day trips together, went clubbing together (every night for some (me !!), sun bathed together and just had lots of fun. We were aged between 30 and 70, some widows, some widowers, some divorced, some single... all shapes and sizes but with one strong link between us - the decision to travel alone and make an effort to mix. There were no love stories but definite friendships started. We had such a great week as a bunch of fellow travellers some of us have now decided to book another solo cruise together to the Caribbean next February. If I were to give you any piece of advice it is to make a very big effort the first two evenings to get involved in the solo meeting and ask those present if they would like to go to dinner - we generally went to Taste restaurant as it was included with good service and easy to organise. We split any wine or drinks on equally onto our cards and the staff were very accommodating in doing this. If you decide not to join the solo meetings I think it would be difficult in such a large ship to meet others who are travelling alone. There were 4,700 approx on board and many many couples and families. From 150 solo cabins there were only 10 people who really got involved in the solo " experience" and this is key if you wish to meet others and enjoy the week. I could keep going but wanted to share the positive experience I had. You will read plenty from others about embarkation, food, ports etc but there is less information on how the solo traveller gets by so I hope I have added some insight to this. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I've cruised in the past several times, typically with others; however, there have been times I wanted to go somewhere and no one else could. I was always deterred by the cost of cruising alone so I would either not go, or choose a ... Read More
I've cruised in the past several times, typically with others; however, there have been times I wanted to go somewhere and no one else could. I was always deterred by the cost of cruising alone so I would either not go, or choose a different type of vacation. NCL has changed all that with their studio rooms. I found the room to be delightful and innovative. I think the architectural designer did a marvelous job of using every available space to its full capacity. I'm in the room to sleep and shower...I really don't care about having tons of extra room and amenities. The bed was the most comfortable I've ever slept on and the studio area was quiet. The room itself has various lighting options you can choose depending on your mood....how fun! The studio lounge was absolutely wonderful! There was a NCL employee who met with the single cruiser's nightly for an hour to help organize activities and answer questions. It was like going to a private cocktail party. The lounge had its own bar, cappuccino machine, snacks, two large screen tvs and plenty of lounging space. It was a great way to meet people or to just have a place to go and unwind. Several group dinners were organized and people were able to join groups for other activities. I found the ship itself to be quite user friendly, and have no major complaints. Like others have commented, the food could be better, but I found the variety to be just fine. The entertainment options were spectacular and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. The fitness area was beyond belief. They have every possible type of equipment a person would want or need. As for the staff, I had consistently positive experiences with everyone I met. No one was ever rude, but some were more friendly than others. Overall, I had a very positive experience on the Epic and will definitely sail it again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I booked my cruise only a month before travel thru Cruise 118 with Helen Dovener in the UK... Having never been on a cruise before I was not sure what to expect. Luckily I found the Cruise Critic website and found I could get in contact ... Read More
I booked my cruise only a month before travel thru Cruise 118 with Helen Dovener in the UK... Having never been on a cruise before I was not sure what to expect. Luckily I found the Cruise Critic website and found I could get in contact with other travellers on the same trip as me and managed to arrange a Meet and Greet for day 2 on the ship to meet them all! I also managed to book a trip to Naples with Share a shore excursion in Italy, saving me a lot of money compared with the NCL trips... Day 1 - So I arrived at Reus airport in Spain and got the included transfer to Barcelona.. for anyone else considering a cruise out of Barcelona, it now seems like a much better idea to go straight there as Reus is an hour and a half coach trip to Barcelona...Getting on the ship was made really easy and happened quickly, my luggage got to my cabin fairly early. The first thing I did whilst getting onboard was to visit Maltings, the Whiskey Bar, where I met my favourite bartender for the trip - Joseph (we met here every night before dinner). If anyone likes wine, it is worthwhile looking at the Wine deals as by the glass is not cheap, but if you buy more than 6 bottles in a week, you get 20% off! I then met with an online friend from cruise critic. Then came the safety briefing where we all had to go to our allocated muster stations if anything went wrong. The beauty of this ship is that if you are travelling on your own, you can stay in a Studio Cabin and not have to pay double to stay on your own. The cabin for me for fine, enough room,lots of storage space, plus my cabin steward Orthos was a star! Towel animals on my bed every night, my room was tidied twice a day (if only I could have taken him home with me!) The first night I went to the Living Room - a place for singles to meet and introduce themselves. Sol - NCL Epic staff member did a great job of getting us all to introduce ourselves. It was nice to meet others travelling on their own and know that we could meet up and stay together or stay on our own if we wanted. A dinner was booked for Wednesday for us all to meet in Taste. I then had dinner and a show booked at the Cirque Dreams show. This was great, I only booked a standard seat but sat in a booth with some lovely ladies from Atlanta, food was good, show was fab! Day 2 - at sea, this was really busy, but managed to get a bed by the pool. I am still quite surprised how small the pools are, however have been assured this was similar to others. The best thing though was the water slides... especially the one where you went down on a tube! Adults and children alike were up and down these. Later I went to the Blis Lounge, where I met with my other online friends from Cruise Critic. NCL had managed to get about 10 of the Officers to come and join us. This was brilliant and I met with my companions who I spent a lot of time with thru out the trip. A couple from the UK and another from the UK on his own, plus single travellers from Sweden, Denmark and the USA (we are all still in contact now and arranging to try and do another trip next February in the Caribbean!). After meeting we arranged to have drinks by the Pool Bar. If you smoke this and the Humidor Cigar Lounge are some of the places you can smoke. The Pool Bar staff again were great and we were well looked after by Marcos and Ronnie. Back in my cabin, I picked up a voicemail.. I had been invited for drinks with the Captain and other guests at the Epic lounge! Not sure what I had done to deserve this, but I went along and met again with the NCL Officers and others on the cruise for some free drinks in a great room. I then met with my friend and we went to the ICE vodka bar and enjoyed 2 vodka cocktails for $20. They give you a fur parka and gloves, but if you were like me and wore sandals.. your feet freeze (wear socks!)! That night a few of us met for Dinner in the Manhatten Room (inclusive dining room, no shorts though if you are a guy!). Dinner here was good with good service. Day 3 - Having had an action packed day before, I decided to take it easy. The Ship docked at Florence but as I had been before I simply went off the ship for 5 minutes to look around and then came back on, plus it was raining! So I went to the Spa and was really pleased to find out they had some discounted treatments as many people had gone off for the day. So 3 treatments later from Laura, a great therapist from the US, I felt a lot better and the sun was shining! I also found a bed by the pool really easy. That night a few of us went bowling... a great excuse for missing the pins was the ship was moving! However even at sea it was hard to feel sea sick! The shops had a $12 sale and I bought a lovely little handbag... Day 4 - Rome - 4 of us dared to get the train and venture into Rome. If you are not back onboard by the time the ship leaves, they will go without you (unless you are on one of there trips!). We had a fab day and just got the hop on hop off bus and then the train back. Back onboard we met with lots of other solo travellers for dinner in the Taste restaurant. Sol had managed to get about 30 of us together for dinner. We then went dancing in Bliss and Spice H20, then Fat Cats for some Jazz. Day 5 - Naples - I went on a Share a Shore Excursion and visited Sorrento, Positano and Pompeii (75 euros each, 8 people in a mini bus, Fulvio was our amazing driver). went to a local restaurant for lunch and paid 25 euros for food and drinks.. Had a really good day. Dinner again in the Manhatten room followed by dancing at Spice H20. We all dressed in white for the White Hot Party! More drinks at Bliss and then could not get up the next day! Day 6 - a late start to another day at sea... Spent the day lazing by the pool and had dinner at Moderno Churrascaria (paid about $20 extra but it was worth it) If you like meat you must come here! Purchased a photo of our group of friends for $23, a little expensive but a great picture. Had drinks in O'Sheehans . Day 7 - Palma Majorca - took a taxi tour from the port and told our driver where we wanted to go for 100 euros! Back on the boat we went to LaCucina Italian for dinner (10$ extra). Won $150 on roulette at the amazing casino! Left the ship the next morning at 6 am to get the coach back to Reus then London. Unfortunately our plane developed a fault and we were sat at the airport for 6 hours! Complete nightmare... Realised I had completely missed seeing the Blue Man Group as I had been too busy! Managed to get tickets to see Los Locos Ole.. this is a must if you want to laugh lots! Have definitely missed out some of the stuff I did here, the week passed by so quickly. All fears of me being a sad traveller on my own had gone, it was not retirement heaven or full of children, I did not get sea sick once or bored. I had such a great time and really want to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
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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