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

NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; ... Read More
This was my first time traveling with Norwegian, and first time ever in Europe with one of my best friends. I had only ever traveled with Carnival before, so I was very impressed with the interior of the ship and it's overall size; much larger and more extravagant on the inside. Very detailed, many places to eat, really good layout. We had a few issues on board. For starters, we found out days later that our steward was supposed to come to our room to introduce himself and show us around our room, how everything worked. That never happened. 7 days on the ship and never met him. We also had issues receiving our tickets for our shore excursions. We booked all three of our excursions with Norwegian, and every single time, we had to go downstairs to the excursion desk to get copies of our tickets, as our steward could never bring them to our room on time. We actually never got our tickets for our last excursion. We had to get a pamphlet with the shore excursion meeting times and show up extra early to make sure some staff there could go get our tickets. The first shore excursion we had we got our tickets at the desk, and then the day of the excursion, after we had returned back to the ship, our tickets were waiting for us there. What the point of that was, I have no idea. Really made it frustrating that we didn't have our tickets waiting in our room, ever. Always had to make time to visit the desk, wait in line, and wait for our ticket copies. Another issue we had was with the staff. One night, my friend and I were having a late night snack at O'Sheenan's and some random drunk guy sat out our table trying to hit on us. We got really uncomfortable when he wouldn't leave, so we called over a staff member to get him to escort him away. The staff member got really offended because he thought we had called him over with our middle finger (why anyone would do that, I have no idea), and gave us a lecture on how that was very rude and offensive before we could even ask him to take the man away. Once he had told the guy to leave, he once again scolded us on calling him over with our middle finger. Completely unnecessary. We're two girls, no need for that. Other than that encounter with the staff, everyone else was excellent. We made a lot of friends with staff from different places who worked in different parts of the ship, and it was nice to run into them again days later and have them remember us, our names, and how they had met us. They gave great recommendations and were cool to hang out with. We met some really wonderful people that worked on board. We got an interior cabin room, so no windows. It kind of sucked because we never knew when it was light out or dark out. It really threw us off. Sometimes we would walk up to the deck and be shocked that it was still light out. Our fault, for not spending a little more money on a room with a window. Definitely recommend! It's worth it. Our room was very cramped and small. Often, my friend and I had to walk around each other when we were doing our hair or our makeup, or trying to change our clothes or pack. The layout of the room is a little weird, with the bathroom and shower at the entrance of the room and the sink on the dresser area. Didn't bother us much. You can control the temperature of the room, which was great. There's also American and European outlets in the rooms. Two American, so we had no need for the European ones. Worked out perfectly fine. The bed was always clean and very comfortable to sleep in. Had no problems. Despite us never getting our tickets on time or meeting our steward, he always cleaned our room twice a day, much appreciated. I will say the lighting sucks in there. Too many buttons for lighting in different areas, which is fine, but it was still so dim and dark with all the lights on. Made it very hard to see our makeup accurately. A small thing, but kind of important for us girls! Dining was excellent. We always had dinner at The Manhattan, and hardly ever were we disappointed. I think there was maybe one night where we weren't fans of what we ordered, but they nailed almost everything else. I will say, they can't seem to get dessert right. It always fell short of my expectations. The creme brulee was delicious, definitely try that! Staff was very sweet and always made sure to seat us near a window. They started to recognize us as the girls who wanted dinner with a view, so at one point we didn't even have to ask anymore. They also sat us right next to the dance floor one night when there was a show happening, which was very kind of them. We had the best seats! Buffet was also pretty good, I especially liked the Asian food offered and the salad selection. Only ate there once, on the first day. O'Sheenan's had great breakfast, although I definitely preferred Taste for breakfast. Ate at Taste almost every morning before getting off the ship, and they were always accommodating when we told them we were in a rush because we had to meet for a tour. I have one very strong complaint about pricing on the ship. My friend and I only traveled with carry-on luggage, so we had no room for sunblock or aloe which was much needed after so many days in the sun. We went to the gift shop only to find out that for one regular sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and aloe, it was going to cost us $36!! $18 each for a brand I know very well is sold for around $10 literally anywhere else. What a ripoff. I understand cruises up-charge, but that was ridiculously expensive and we refused to purchase. **Here's a little tip**: Guest Services sells the exact same products for $15 each, only when the gift shop is closed. Get your stuff there. Still expensive, but at least not as bad. They also have tooth paste and tanning oil. Avoid the gift shop at all costs. They do, however, only have a limited amount, so don't wait until the end of the trip to go stock up. Get it early on, or wait until you're at a port that sells sunblock right off the ship. You'll find it for even cheaper, in euros, of course. As far as entertainment and activities go, there wasn't much to do that really interested us. Most of the time, we were exhausted after long days of walking at the port stops, so we simply had dinner and went to bed. We really did enjoy Burn the Floor, excellent show if you appreciate dancing. Book your reservation for that early, don't wait until you're on the ship because it will be sold out. Highly recommend watching! There are a lot of family-friendly activities for those of you traveling with kids. Family karaoke and a variety of games they play on the Guest Services level using the huge TV Screen. Very interactive and great for kids. My friend and I really enjoyed the parties at Spice H20, they were great! We especially loved the Glow Party and the 80s Themed Party. Bliss was also a great place to be after the parties ended at Spice H20. We also watched a magic show, but that was pretty underwhelming. Very basic card tricks that I've seen a million times, nothing out of this world. I was expecting something better after seeing Burn the Floor. On the Day at Sea, we chose to spend the day in the Thermal Suites. Highly recommend if you really want to unwind and relax! No kids, very quiet and peaceful. Never got too crowded. It's $48 per person for one day, and 100% worth the money. Everything was clean and luxurious. If your muscles are sore from all the walking, use the thermal pool water jets; they will cure you and you'll feel brand new. As I said earlier, all of our shore excursions were booked with Norwegian. Super overpriced, most of them, but well worth it. We did a shore excursion in Livorno, Palma, and Naples. In Livorno, we did the "Florence & Pisa on your own" excursion. We prefer to kind of do our own thing at the ports, so this was a great option for us. It's simply transportation in an air-conditioned bus (with WIFI!) and a tour guide who gives you a little bit of history on the bus ride and gives recommendations for places to visit. We had a wonderful time. No problems and got back to the ship on time, although Norwegian will always wait for you if you're running late and on a Norwegian shore excursion. My suggestion, do the Florence on your own excursion and skip Pisa. Pisa is very small and you need tickets to get into literally every building in the square. It wasn't spectacular to me. I could've done without it and would have much rather spent that one extra hour in Florence. There's a lot more to do, see, and eat in Florence and your time is better spent there. In Palma, we did another "on your own" type of excursion that simply transported us to and from Palmanova beach, which is supposed to be one of the nicest beaches on the island. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas to rent. You can rent one umbrella and two chairs for 15 euros. The beach itself wasn't anything out of this world, in my opinion. I kept wondering if maybe there were prettier beaches elsewhere. If there's a better tour available, maybe consider one of those. The water was green and kind of dirty, full of pieces of trash and other things. Still a nice, relaxing day. We also had the best sangria and tapas right across the street for super cheap, which made everything well worth it. But I have seen way better beaches elsewhere. We had no problems with people stealing our stuff, we comfortably left everything on our chairs while we were in the water. Be advised if you're traveling with kids, it's a nude beach! In Naples, we did the "Exclusive Amalfi Coast & Pompeii" excursion and although this left us bankrupt, we have no regrets. It was by far the best tour we did the entire week. The drive along the Amalfi coast was more than enough, but we also got an hour in Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii. Each was beautiful and one hour was enough time to grab a quick snack and do a little shopping. We even had time to make our way down the town in Positano and check out the beach. Lunch was at a restaurant overlooking the Amalfi coast, and it was a three-course meal with wine, prosecco, and coffee and dessert. Absolutely delicious. Tour included only around 12 people, so it was very intimate and way better than a huge tour of 40 people. I highly recommend this tour! We arrived in Rome three days prior to the cruise to spend a little more time there, and it was well worth it. I definitely recommend doing this if you're embarking in Rome or Barcelona. When we got off at the Barcelona stop, it was Sunday and most shops and restaurants were closed. It would have been nice to see the city more alive! Here are some other tips I've gathered after my trip and from talking to other cruises who didn't do as much research as we did prior to boarding: - Norwegian provides a bus service that takes you straight to the airport or the port, depending on whether you're arriving or leaving. Very expensive. From Rome, we went to Termini Station and took the train straight to the train station in Civitavecchia. It takes about an hour and five minutes, with multiple stops along the way. It will only cost you around 11 euros per person. Way more affordable and you get a beautiful scenic tour of the countryside along the way. From there, take a taxi straight to the port. It's 5 euros per person and it'll drop you off at the exact terminal. There's a bus as well, but it doesn't take you directly there. You have to walk to a square to reach the bus stop and then walk another 10-15 minutes to your terminal. To get to the airport, disembark the cruise and there is a free shuttle that takes you to a stop that is a ten minute walk away from the train station (same one you get off at to embark). Grab a ticket to FCO airport, get off at Trastevere and hop onto another train to reach FCO. Drops you off directly inside the airport. - If you use the trains in Italy, make sure to validate your ticket prior to getting on the train. They are little green machines that look like hand sanitizer dispensers. If you don't validate your ticket, you get fined. And they do check your tickets on board! - Cannes is VERY expensive and there's a lot of shopping to be done there. Make sure you have enough cash on you or a credit card. We didn't anticipate all the shopping we would do, so we ran out! - We were warned about a lot of pick-pocketting in Europe, but we felt very very safe everywhere we went. However, we were extra cautious and used locks on our purses. We attached the keys to a hair tie and wore that on our wrists. Nobody would ever know. You could also use a necklace. - You need tickets for the following places if you want to visit them: Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Galleria dell'Academia, all of Pisa, Vatican City, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Book them online in advance through the official websites, it is much cheaper and you get to skip all the lines. Vatican City offers a discount for students if you take your student ID, don't forget it! They do check when you get there. - On board, like I said, spend a little more money on a room with at least a window so you can figure out what time of day it is. Well worth it! - Book reservations for Burn the Floor in advance! It's the only show that sells out very quickly, because it's so good. - In Barcelona, USE THE METRO. Best way to get around, very cheap and definitely safe. You will be able to see everything. Do not use the hop on and hop off busses. They seem convenient, but they take FOREVER to get through all the stops. You won't be able to see everything if you use them. We made that mistake. Never again! Extremely long post/review, but hopefully some of you find this helpful if you're planning a future trip. I know I was very nervous traveling to Europe for the first time and I did a lot of research prior to, which I also recommend doing. Norwegian was a nice experience, but there were a few issues that really bothered us, as mentioned above. Would I go again? Definitely, but I think the next time I do Europe it'll be on land. It was a nice taste of different places, and now I know where I want to spend more time and what I want to do. It's a nice vacation for first-timers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was my first cruise with Norwegian.I chose NCL cause this time i was travelling solo and NCL seemed to be the best choice.Also i like the freestyle concept of NCL,so i wanted to try them out. Embarkation wasn`t good.It took one ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Norwegian.I chose NCL cause this time i was travelling solo and NCL seemed to be the best choice.Also i like the freestyle concept of NCL,so i wanted to try them out. Embarkation wasn`t good.It took one hour to get on board ! At the beginning approx. 15 agents were available for checking in and getting my ship card.But suddenly several agents just went away and never came back.SO only 5 Agents were now serving the people and it took very long. The ship itself was also in very good condition.For me personally the design is a little bit confusing.It is not that easy to get along right away.Fortunately there are enough signs to show the way. The food overall was good.The buffet is a little bit more than average,nothing special.Quantity wasn`t that good, quality was Ok.The food in both the main dining restaurants was always very good.CHoice was good and qualtity always very good. The food in O`sheehans was Ok.Burger was average,fries ware bad,but the desert was very good. I was totally surpised about the number of available deck chairs even on sea day.In the sun there were always dozens of available chairs and even in the shade there were some available,although the ship was fully booked. The drinks in the bars were - for me - all a bit weak and quite small for the money. The entertainment was the best i`ve ever seen on any cruise ship ! Burn the floor is simply amazing ! But also the cavern club and Howl at the moon are really good.There is so much choice of excellent live music on board.... The only excoursion i booked via NCL was in Cannes.(Nizza and Eze)It was quite good,but too expensive.I generally think that the charges for NCL-excoursions are too high. The service was almost always good.Never had to wait too long to be asked for a drink in any bar or club or other venue.Especially the solo travellers host on my cruise(Crystle) was amazing ! I really enjoyed my cruise and i will definitely book with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Another great trip with the Epic, first time as a solo guest in the studios. Studios are great, small but everything you need for a single guest. Staff was friendly and going the extra mile, as always nothing to complain about the staff on ... Read More
Another great trip with the Epic, first time as a solo guest in the studios. Studios are great, small but everything you need for a single guest. Staff was friendly and going the extra mile, as always nothing to complain about the staff on Norwegian. Food very good, seems to have even improved since my last cruise with more options in the main dining rooms and new specialty options. Buffet very good, but can get crowded on busy (sea) days. Entertainment is top of the notch on the Epic. Great team, wonderful Cruise Director Scott, magnificent shows and performances. You won't get bored on this ship. Yes, the ship has its flaws, but if you can look over them and realize thatt you are on vacation and should relax, the Epic is a really good ship. Would definately go on the Epic again. Overall, I do prefer the freestyle cruising over the classic cruising so Norwegian remains the way to go for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean as a solo passenger. I am very thankful that Norwegian sees that market and provides studios. The cost was $899 for 7 nights (NO ridiculous single supplement charge like other cruise lines!). The ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean as a solo passenger. I am very thankful that Norwegian sees that market and provides studios. The cost was $899 for 7 nights (NO ridiculous single supplement charge like other cruise lines!). The studios: outstanding accommodations; large with tonnes of storage for one traveller. I was in Room 11575 AFT and would not recommend location as the AFT cabins are over the engines. The room vibrates and it is very noisy when docking and leaving port. These rooms are not good for elderly passengers. The lady next to me was 80+ and had a walker. It is very tough to navigate the interior hallway and/or the tube-like shower with a walker. There is also a lounge for studio guests offering cappuccinos and light snacks. This offers solo travellers a place to meet others should they wish to have dinner and/or stage show companions. Shows: Priscilla Queen of the Desert is top quality. Best I've seen on any cruise line. Burn the Floor is well produced and perfect for fans of dance. I really enjoyed the MoTown music show in the cabaret as well. Food: I did not have the specialty dining package. Europe has only one sea day and I knew I would be eating fine food in ports. Breakfast at the Garden Café had endless choices. The Garden Café had a different theme nightly and met my needs. Moderno was also very good. I'm not a foodie and felt that the quality of food was very good on board . The Spa: I purchased a pass and really enjoyed this as it rained all 7 days of my cruise. Pools and heated loungers were really nice. Ports: 1. Rome - spend 4 days there before the cruise then took the train to meet the ship in Civitavecchia/ was surprised at what a beautiful beach town it is. 2. Livorno - you pay 5 euro for shuttle to get out of the port into the town. I then took a large tour bus for 3 hours in Florence and 1 hour in Pisa. Both are not to be missed. 3. Cannes - could not dock due to storm 3. Marseilles - 15 euro to take shuttle out of the port and to the town. There I took local train on my own to Aix en Provence which was extraordinary! 4. Barcelona - Hop-on Hop-Off Bus allowed me to see everything in one day. The city shuts down on Sundays so it was very quiet. 5. Naples -I tried to do this on my own but would recommend a tour. Leave Naples and head to the Amalfi Coast. The only port where you don't have to pay for a shuttle to reach the town site. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife spotted this deal on one of the major cruise TV shows and the price was good considering it included flights and transfers, but what really swung it was the inclusion of NCL's extremely expensive Ultimate Beverage Package as a ... Read More
My wife spotted this deal on one of the major cruise TV shows and the price was good considering it included flights and transfers, but what really swung it was the inclusion of NCL's extremely expensive Ultimate Beverage Package as a freebie. We ended up as a party of seven, My wife, daughter, daughter - in - law and myself had all cruised with NCL previously. My mother - in - law and her husband had cruised before but not with NCL and my mother was a first time cruiser. Between us we had a range of staterooms from an inside through a solo cabin and up to a couple of balcony cabins. The layout of the cabins took some getting used to with the toilet, the shower and the sink not being closed off in a separate bathroom. It quickly became obvious why NCL had done this as it gave the staterooms a feeling of having more space. As usual the staterooms were kept clean and supplied constantly with coffee etc. My daughter is still mystified as to why NCL do not supply a coffee maker in the Inside staterooms. My wife and I were equally mystified as to why there were no dressing gowns in the balcony staterooms, as they had been supplied last year in our balcony stateroom on The Gem. The solo cabin and facilities that come with it are excellent, and my mother didn't have to far for her morning fix of coffee. Overall everyone was very pleased with the staterooms. The Epic is huge, although in Barcelona it was dwarfed by RCL's Harmony of the Seas which was moored next to us at the pier. Having previously cruised on the Gem (twice) and Fred Olsens Braemar, which has less than 1000 passengers, we were all a bit worried that the Epic might be too big. This was not the case, in the end you could've been on any of NCL's ships just with a few extras, like the Ice Bar and Spice H2O thrown in. Dining as usual on NCL was very good. We only dined once in the Manhattan Restaurant but considering we were a table of seven the whole thing was handled and timed really well and the food was good. My wife and others also dined in Taste which they said was also very good. The main dining option for the rest was the Garden Buffet which has some really great food and so many options. For all the excellence of the dining, it was this that also led to a couple of disappointments, the first was a late night meal at O'Sheehans which was poor and the other was the new practice of charging for certain items in the main complimentary restaurants. I was looking forward to the Surf and Turf until one of our party noted that this would actually cost me around $25, this was the same for another couple of dishes, mostly involving Lobster from Maine. My advice to NCL is to either source your lobster from Europe (on this particular cruise) or don't have the dish on the menu in the complimentary dining options. We were entertained very well. The main show on the cruise was a very professional and very good Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. My mother also took in the Cirque Dreams show which she said was amazing but again let down by poor food, which considering the whole thing came to around $30 is a bit much. The quizzes and general entertainment such as parties was great and well done. The bars on board were as usual very well staffed and run. The itinerary was good, the trouble is if you wanted a full day anywhere it meant getting up extremely early, something I try to avoid when on holiday. As slightly more experienced cruisers we decided to DIY most of the ports as yet again NCL's excursions were extremely pricey. In Naples we went to Pompeii we hired a taxi at the port, this took us to Pompeii, waited 3 hours, visited a very nice Limoncello emporium then gave us a tour around the back streets of Naples for about 30 Euros and we paid 12 Euros entry to Pompeii. For Rome we jumped o the free shuttle to the port gates, the 2 Euros for a bus to Civitavecchia rail station. There we bought a return ticket and a ticket for a Hop on Hop off tourist bus in Rome. We saw everything we wanted for 47 euros each. In Livorno we hired a minibus at the dockside to take us to Pisa and wait a couple of hours. We didn't feel we had time to do Florence although there were drivers prepared to do both Pisa and Florence and wait in both places for 400 euros, which for the seven of us would have been about 58 euros each. Cannes and Marseille were just a couple of hours ashore, although in Marseille we had to catch the NCL shuttle at $15 each return. Embarkation was quick and easy with no distinction made between latitudes members and non members. Disembarkation was different as somebody accidentally took one of our bags and left there own. NCL were brilliant, they tracked down the person and bag at the airport and by the time we arrived on our shuttle our bag was waiting for us. Overall impressions. Well the cruise would have got 5 stars if it wasn't for NCL trying to squeeze more and more money from people. Charging for food in the complimentary restaurants, charging for most room service, the Ultimate Beverage Package does not cover all beverages only those to a value of $15 and there were quite a few drinks that were over that value, OK I got it free but if I'd paid £440 for it I'd have been pretty narked and lastly the cost of the excursions was almost prohibitive. On the plus side the service, stateroom, entertainment and most of the food was excellent, the itinerary is also good but personally I'd maybe cut one stop out and add an extra sea day. Would I go on this cruise again. Yes. Would I sail with NCL again Yes they're my favourite cruise line, but they can stop trying to squeeze money from me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It has been six year's since my last cruise. This was with royal caribbean. I found this cruise basically half the price as royal caribbean, due to single, no supplement studio cabin's. I was also pleased to receive the ... Read More
It has been six year's since my last cruise. This was with royal caribbean. I found this cruise basically half the price as royal caribbean, due to single, no supplement studio cabin's. I was also pleased to receive the ultimate drink's package at the time of booking, for free. I pre-booked transfer's, from the airport at rome, to the ship at civitavecchia. The transfer took an hour by bus. There were plenty representatives from norwegian at the airport to direct you. Check in at the port was quick and i was on board within 20 minutes. I quickly found my studio cabin on deck 11 and received my suitcase an hour later. The ship is very large, but finding your way around did not take long, with interactive screen's at elevator's and signs at each level in stairways. I ate at the garden café all the time. That was a great buffet with different theme night's depending on which port you were at and plenty of ice cream you can help yourself too. This ship had plenty of thing's to do, from shopping to load's of bar's and of course the swimming pool's and flume slide's. I liked the adult's area bar spice h20 and o'sheenans for a drink, but you sometimes had to wait for them to finnish making cocktail's before you got served. One thing i noticed was, crew buying case's of bottle's of water in port and taking it on board, while guest's are prohibited and have to pay for expensive bottle's from the ship! Another thing i noticed on my last night was the pen and norwegian headed notepaper taken out of the cabin! Disembarkation went good but had to be off ship at 07:00 for transfer to airport. I feel norwegian is on par with royal caribbean but with less gimmicks and would book with norwegian again. Livorno port, italy. I got the port transfer bus to main shopping square for 5 euro return. But they offered a transfer to rail station plus ticket to florence for 50 euro. Cannes port, france. Tendered ashore after rush at 10:15am. Walked around harbour looking at mega yachts and the castle where you get great view's. Marseilles port, france. Went on my first norwegian excursion, avignon and marseilles city highlights. Avignon was very interesting but 2 hours free time a bit long. Marseilles highlights part, took us to a church on top of a hill overlooking the whole of the city. Barcelona port, spain. Paid 4 euro for a return bus transfer to the harbour front but walkable without luggage. I walked around city. There were 3800 passenger's embarking the ship here. Naples port, italy. I booked an excursion with norwegian, pompeii excavations. Guide took us around site for two hour's with a little free time to buy souvenirs. I also walked round downtown which look's a bit rough. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
All in all for the price the cruise was really good! I didn't pay too much at all so the things that might have bothered me otherwise didn't. I was in the Solo Cabin so I also believe my experience was different from the non ... Read More
All in all for the price the cruise was really good! I didn't pay too much at all so the things that might have bothered me otherwise didn't. I was in the Solo Cabin so I also believe my experience was different from the non solo. The biggest issue I have is with the men in the solo cabins (not all!) but a lot of them seem to be on the cruise for one reason and many of the ladies in the solo cabins felt it and when I polled them they said they would not do the solo cruise again because of this reason. Norwegian can't really control that. The food in the specialty dining was amazing! But the service was quite slow. The food in the buffet was great but I didn't like the pizza at all. Horrible. I loved the smoked salmon and capers for breakfast. Yummy!!! All the staff were really friendly and helpful except for just one or two. Embarkment is a mess. I didn't like that process what so ever. They also don't warn you that you will have to do a safety drill in the afternoon after boarding in Barcelona. Flying from the USA I had not been to sleep and wanted to nap. It was not a great experience. The drinks are amazing!! The espresso martini in the martini bar is DY-NO-MITE!! I had about 10 lol. The bushwacker is also amazing!!! All drinks were really good and not watered down at ALL so beware lol The ship is noisier than I expected. Most mornings around 7am have announcements. I didn't sleep in once. The pools are small and filled with kids. Even the pool on the H2o adult spice area is tiny and people stated it was hot like bath water. I WILL DO THIS AGAIN!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Below is my honest review and my top tips - I consider myself to be a well seasoned traveller and have done everything from budget to uber luxurious. My big take away / message for anyone is to make sure this type of cruise is for you. ... Read More
Below is my honest review and my top tips - I consider myself to be a well seasoned traveller and have done everything from budget to uber luxurious. My big take away / message for anyone is to make sure this type of cruise is for you. I've noticed that a lot of reviews slam certain things that are not a result of the cruise itself, but because of the type of cruise and clientele it attracts. We chose this cruise for the solo cruiser option as my husband and I were travelling with my mom for her 70th birthday. The EPIC does a great job in accommodating single travellers with no single supplement. We embarked and disembarked in Rome. Note, a majority of travellers will start/end in Barcelona so embarking/disembarking was quick and easy. Ship: Very modern, clean and everything was spotless. I was extremely impressed with the attention to detail from staff. The public bathrooms, eating and public areas were never messy and staff were continually cleaning around you. Very impressed. The ship is big - loads of places to see/do onboard With 5000 passengers, this could pose challenges for some but is a good thing for others. Cabin: We had a mid balcony room. Clean and comfortable. I understand why they designed the bathrooms the way they did (to provide better flexibility and more room for passengers). Functionally, it worked. However, if you have issues with your cabin-mate listening to you 'do your business', the small screen around the toilet doesn't do much to hide any sounds. Plus, you don't have access to a sink or shower to run to hide any noises so be prepared to either banish your partner to the balcony if this is an issue for you! Loads of storage in the room - it was awesome. Lots of hangers, nice size balcony, etc. Very good room (we were in room 12116) Food/Drinks: The food in the specialty dining restaurants was excellent as were the buffet options in the main market cafe. The food in the main dining rooms was OK, but we ate the last night here and compared to the food in Specialty Dining rooms which was hard to beat. The meal provided at Cirque wasn't the best (set meal of surf and turf) which didn't provide much flexibility for options. Totally recommended specialty meal package if you can get it! Drinks and Wine options exceptional. Entertainment: Loved Cirque - Awesome! Get premium seats if you can as you are right in the action. Burn the Floor and Pricilla both really good. On board Service: Exceptional! Quick, friendly and very accommodating. I was super happy with the level of service - some of the best I've experienced in a very long time. Ports: Not overly impressed with the ports. I've been to all the cities before. Getting into Florence and Rome took quite a bit of time (due to location away from ocean). Cities right on the ports Marseille and Naples were very dirty. The best port was Barcelona (easy access and beautiful city), however, important to know that the ship docks on Sunday so if you embark from another city other than Barcelona, you will miss out on a lot of really cool things in this city. On Sunday, the main market is closed, as are many of the shops. Still, lots to see and do but if you are into food and want to experience the Gothic Area to full potential, the shops need to be open. It's a lovely city with a great vibe- the best of all the ports of call in my opinion.It was a shame that a lot of it was shut on Sunday, the same/only day the ship docks here. As a result, I'd recommend starting and ending in Barcelona so you can spend some time here. Pre Travel/Booking: - TOP TIP I booked the trip in the UK and paid Stirling. My mom (who lives in Canada) saw the same cruise advertised for the same price in Canadian dollars. Essentially, due to the currency conversion, we paid almost double for the same cruise if we would have booked it through the north american NCL branch. We still would have saved hundreds if we lost our 100 pound deposit and rebooked! NCL would not do anything for us, except provide a $100 on board credit. This is the biggest disappointment of the cruise. If you are thinking of booking a trip, check the US or Canada travel agents or website as you could save hundreds of pounds. NCL offer different deals overseas than here to attract Canadian/North American customers. Overall: The EPIC is a lovely ship, the people and the food were top notch. Exceeded my expectations. My biggest frustration was not the fault of the ship or any of the staff. My advice to anyone thinking of booking - know what kind of cruise you are signing up for. This is not the fault of the cruises ship or hard working staff on the ship. You are on a massive ship with 5000 people catering to families, singles and younger people. There will be screaming children, obnoxious guests and a lack of lounge chairs on sea days (people will put towels on chairs in AM and bugger off all day) - this resulted in more than half the chairs sitting empty all day while hundreds of people wondering around trying to find a spot. Not cool! We had our own balcony so had our own private space which was a god send. You will have to walk - you will have to do stairs, you will need to send your husband on the balcony if you need to poo! It's a big ship! If you have kids, don't mind being around a lot of people, enjoy a drink and good food then this ship is for you! If you are wanting a romantic, quiet get away with easy access to ports without paying for excursions, then maybe this isn't the right cruise for you. It boils down to what you want and your attitude. The NCL Epic was a lovely ship, the staff were awesome and we totally enjoyed the food/wine. When it got a bit overwhelming with people on the sailing day, we had our own little space on our balcony which was great. Overall, we had a great time and recommend if this is the type of cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Cruised B2B on June / July in Studio cabin. Have cruised before on MSC, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. This was my first cruise on NCL. Overall ship is very nice. From outside it is not so nice looking due to shape but all venues are ... Read More
Cruised B2B on June / July in Studio cabin. Have cruised before on MSC, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. This was my first cruise on NCL. Overall ship is very nice. From outside it is not so nice looking due to shape but all venues are clean and modern. Studio cabin was better than I expected. Thanks to clever design there is plenty of storage space in the cabin. Worked perfectly for me. Used mainly buffet for lunch and was happy with wide selection and food quality. On dinners I used always specialty dining and was mainly happy with the food. There were service hick ups with certain waiters but overall experience was really positive. I think entertainment on the ship was the best I have seen so far on cruise ships. There is plenty of options for having good time. Despite few hick ups in restaurants service was really good and friendly. The biggest issue for me was the internet connection. It was way too slow and there were plenty of connection issues. Concerning the really expensive price compared to other cruise lines - connection quality was unacceptable. Wouldn't cruise again until they have fixed the connection speed and changed their pricing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I have to say it has been a great experience for me as it was my first cruise, Embarking looked daunting as there was such large crowd But they went through them quite quickly, it took me awhile getting my bearings ,And once I got a ... Read More
I have to say it has been a great experience for me as it was my first cruise, Embarking looked daunting as there was such large crowd But they went through them quite quickly, it took me awhile getting my bearings ,And once I got a marker for my room I was too , I then explored the ship which is very large ,The solo lounge is a good ploy as you meet lots of people same as you, And you can get friends for dinner and plan excursions , All the staff are very pleasant and call you by your first name which is nice , All the food was nice except for one which I had two bad meals in its called Taste. First time I had scallops and pasta when it arrived there was no scallops only cockles and as ex fisherman I would no the difference , And pasta was very salty you could not eat it,The second meal I went for duck it was that tuff you could break a tooth I complainers they took my room number but that was all I heard , Nothing else, And on the last day went to desk to make a complaint no one new any thing about it , So the head waiter came to talk to me he said they were larger ducks than they usually get , but I think they were sitting on a hot plate for awhile myself, Apart from that everything else was great ,Entertainment and bars were good so I would recommend this ship to anyone I will be booking another cruise in future. one tip I would say if you like a drink like me go for the UDP as the booze is quite pricey . Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I was a solo traveller and was very impressed by the organisation, friendliness and efficiency of the NCL staff. From embarkation to the final day, the fun, food and freedom were excellent throughout. The dining rooms served delicious ... Read More
I was a solo traveller and was very impressed by the organisation, friendliness and efficiency of the NCL staff. From embarkation to the final day, the fun, food and freedom were excellent throughout. The dining rooms served delicious courses and the staff were attentive but not intrusive. The wine choices were extensive, something for everyone. We did not have to wait for a table. As a single, I met many people from all over the globe in the solo lounge. We went to dinner together and everyone felt comfortable in such convivial company. The shows were excellent especially the dancers. The drinks package was a little strange. I could have any amount of alcohol I wanted including delicious cocktails. However I had to pay over $5.00 for a bottle of water in my cabin. I drank much more water than alcohol so had a drinks bill !! Crazy and not really fair!! WELL DONE NCL FOR A SUPER HOLIDAY. I HOPE TO SAIL WITH YOU AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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
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
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
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
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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