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4 Norwegian (NCL) Marseille Cruise Reviews

We booked an aft cabin and the view and experience added greatly to the our enjoyment of the ship. Most importantly, take some time to plan you port excursions and learn about the vessel. You should know all about the Epic - before - you ... Read More
We booked an aft cabin and the view and experience added greatly to the our enjoyment of the ship. Most importantly, take some time to plan you port excursions and learn about the vessel. You should know all about the Epic - before - you get on board. There is so much to do and see you should take the time to plan. I would say I gave the planning phase about 20 hours before we boarded. It made our journey effortless. We were on the cruise rather than figuring out what we wanted to do. Best tip I can give. We ate at La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Teppenyaki. All excellent and a nice break from the buffet. I am in the habit of tipping the Maitre'd of the dining hall. It will help you get the best possible dining experience. You will have aave a great time on this vessel. It is huge, but it never felt impersonal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I've just returned yesterday from my first ever cruise vacation, which was on the Norwegian Epic around the Western Mediterranean. And what a great experience it has been! Amazing ship, very friendly staff, nice atmosphere, lots of ... Read More
I've just returned yesterday from my first ever cruise vacation, which was on the Norwegian Epic around the Western Mediterranean. And what a great experience it has been! Amazing ship, very friendly staff, nice atmosphere, lots of dining options.... it was truly a fantastic holiday. Let me tell you why: After getting to the port in Marseille, the check-in process on board was surprisingly fast. Then, it was of to see my cabin, and explore the ship. The Epic, with a capacity up to of 4100 passengers, is one of the bigger cruise ships out there (as I've been told by more experienced cruise travellers) so there is quite a lot to explore. But the ship's setup is quite straight forward, so finding your way around is easily done after a little while. And if you do get lost, there are maps and touchscreens available on every floor to help you out. Since I was travelling by myself (background info: 27 year old Dutch guy), I've booked a Studio, which is specially designed for solo travellers. These inside cabins are very modern, with a queen-size bed, a glass shower and mood lighting. The Epic is the perfect ship to travel on for solo travellers, because of these Studios, and especially because of the Studio Lounge, which is only accessible for guests who booked a Studio. A.k.a. a great place to get to know new people and have a drink. With a solo travellers meeting every night at 18.00, with presence of one of the Cruise Staff members (William in our case, he is a great host!) and the option to go for dinner with other solo travellers too, you're bound to make some new friends. After the solo traveller meeting, it was off to dinner. And what a range of options does this ship provide you with. Multiple restaurants (buffet restaurant Garden Cafe and a-la-carte restaurants Taste, Manhattan Room and O'Sheehans) are complimentary, but you can also pay some more and use on of the speciality restaurants. Having dinner in the Spiegel Tent is very recommendable, because of the Cirque Dreams show. In all honesty, the food in the Spiegel Tent is not as good as at Taste or Manhattan, but the show is amazing! From acrobatic arts to classic magic to comedy, this show combines it all inside a very compact and cozy environment. At Taste and Manhattan they serve great food, with a different menu every day (only the classic dishes will remain the same) and hi-quality presentation and great taste. The wine list is good as well, and I tasted quite a few (luckily I had the Ultimate Beverage Package) At O'Sheehans, the Irish styled restaurant and pub, they serve a good and tasty 'pub grub', including chicken wings, a very nice BBQ burger and fish and chips. Over here, you will also find some games, including pool, darts and bowling. After dinner, it was time to enjoy the night. Howl at the Moon at the Headliners comedy club is great fun. These guys (and girl) do songs on request, and make a happy show while doing it. The musical 'Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert' played in the Epic Theatre simply takes your breath away. The acting, singing and decors are all so beautifully done (and, since you're all staying on the same ship, you can run into the stars of the show later on when partying in the Bliss Lounge) Also the Beatles tribute band (playing in the Cavern Club) is amazing, they really get you of your feet. There are other shows too (an opera show and a 60's tribute band f.i.) but I don't see those. Luckily you receive an overview every day of all activities going on the next day, so you can keep track (because I didn't even mention the bingo yet, or the ping pong tournament, movies on big screen, art auctions, trivia quizzes and so much more), besides the 'regular' cruise activities like bubbling in a jacuzzi, swimming and enjoying the sunshine. For a more quiet night out, you can enjoy a nice mix or cocktail (tip: try the Mudslide, amazing iced cocktail) in one of the many bars, such as Shakers (martini bar), Maltings, O'Sheehans (Irish pub) or Waves (bar outside, near the pool) By the end of the night, going on into early morning, Bliss Lounge is the place to go, which is a nightclub-like bar. Although the DJ isn't always playing my kind of music, the atmosphere is nice, and you can dance the night away if you like. I didn't book any excursions through NCL (they are pretty expensive, so just wondered off by myself), but in the Freestyle Daily they inform you about the options ashore (how you can get about on your own, and what there is to see in and near the port of call), so that's great. So was there nothing that could be improved? Yes, there is. Almost every morning (quite early, around 07.00) there are quite loud announcements over the speaker system, mostly for disembarking guests or guests who have booked a shore excursion. Being woken up with announcements (which are mostly not even meant for you) isn't really nice, specially after a nice night of partying. Perhaps NCL can do these announcements differently/more targeted? (perhaps via the TV?) Also, although the Ultimate Beverage Package includes cocktails, wines and mixed drinks (which can go up to about 15 USD per drink) coffee in the Atrium bar or special coffee after dinner is not included. Having an Irish coffee included, but having to pay extra for a capucchino, that seems a bit odd. But, despite these two points of improvement, I still had a very very nice holiday! Wow, that was a long review. So all and all, I've happy to say that my experience on this ship has been great! It was my first cruise, but definately not my last one... and love to go with Norwegian again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. We started with some intrepidation about being confined in one place with so many people (the ship can take around 4000 passengers) but actually we needn’t have ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. We started with some intrepidation about being confined in one place with so many people (the ship can take around 4000 passengers) but actually we needn’t have worried as the ship was so big, with so many options for dining and entertainment that we never felt crowded.. We were somewhat disadvantaged with joining the ship at Marseille as Barcelona is the main embarkation port. Whilst it meant there were no queues or delays to register or get onboard, we were not given the full range of information which those embarking at Barcelona were given and we subsequently were not fully keyed in with either the range of what was available on board, where things were, or the different packages available (such as drinks packages). The dining options really suited us as the Freestyle approach of the Epic means that you can dine where and when you want to. There were formal dining opportunities (or at least, as formal as you wanted it to be " some people really got dressed up though most people were just smartly casual, which was the basic requirement. We only saw one person wearing a tie and there were no dinner jackets put people were generally quite smartly dressed). The restaurants had a menu which changed daily (always with choices) and which generally reflected the local port of call. There was also a regular unchanging menu. The food and service were excellent. Also there was a buffet restaurant on the pool deck which had a huge range of food catering for all tastes, a poolside buffet/grill and also an Irish bar, open for food at all hours. In addition there were speciality restaurants but we steered clear of these as they were all at extra cost. The thing that really stunned us was the astronomical cost of wines, beers etc. There was a drinks package option at 49 dollars per day (! and if you take this then it has to be for the full week and for every adult in your party) or wines starting at around 25 dollars for the cheapest bottle. However this is not the actual purchase price as 18% service then 10% VAT are always added to the final bill. It was no wonder that most people were drinking iced water which was always available, as were basic squashes. Bottled water was however also extremely expensive. The range of free entertainment options on board was amazing. There were top notch shows in a huge theater (the Blue Man show was incredible and apparently was previously running on the West end) as well as dance, musical and comedy shows in other areas. You could see something different every night of your cruise " but you do have to reserve to be sure of a seat. Lots of other leisure options were available, including a climbing and abseiling wall, 3 (yes 3!) water chutes, Jacuzzis, ping pong, 10 pin bowling (at extra charge), ball sports and the swimming pools. Only the latter were disappointing as there were only 2 and they were VERY small. We were surprised at how many things were at extra (and really expensive charge " plus service charge etc!). These included not just the bowling but also the gym and internet (for which you had to pay an initial sign up charge of $3.95 then a $0.75 per minute charge. Photos on board were also astronomical, even for prints or a USB download from your own camera. The ship had large areas assigned to both these activities but it was not surprising that they were empty most of the time. Shore excursions were also in our opinion very expensive, though we do not have other cruising experiences to compare them with. All we do know is that the same shore excursions can be done at around 30% of the ship price if you research, plan yourself and use local transport. Port shuttles were invariably much more expensive if bought on the ship than if bought directly at the port.(where in some instances, such as at Marseille, they are free). We spoke to one man who paid €12 on ship only to find that it would only have cost him 5€ if bought at the port. Interestingly he successfully challenged this afterwards and was given a refund. Our accommodation on board was well set out, comfortable and well equipped with lots of storage space. We also had a drip coffee maker (which could also be used for making tea) and a continuous bucket of ice. Incidentally we used the latter to fill our water bottles, rather than paying totally over the top for bottled water to take out with us, which was available on leaving the ship at $5.63 a small bottle. All of the staff members on board were superb, friendly, happy, helpful and courteous. A 12$ per person gratuities charge is added to your bill for each day on ship, though it is "discretionary” and can be removed if you are not happy with the service for any reason. We spoke to one individual who had had it taken off on a previous trip. Personlly we found all the services on board to be extremely well and efficiently organized. At the end we can honestly say that we had a good cruise experience. It was just a shame that the company seemed to be trying to profiteer too much from the additional high cost items and services which it was providing on board.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise about the Epic. I will start with some pre-cruise information. We flew from the states on Air France in the premium economy class of service to Paris and then took the TGV to ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise about the Epic. I will start with some pre-cruise information. We flew from the states on Air France in the premium economy class of service to Paris and then took the TGV to Marseille, where we boarded the Epic. We felt the upgrade in service was worth the additional cost as we were traveling from Arizona. The premium economy offers a private cabin, a smidge wider seats but a lot more leg room. Along with that you also received priority check in, free baggage, luggage is tagged priority and in Europe a priority line for security. As we were traveling by train to Marseille we each took a 21 inch bag for our 10 day adventure. About 2 weeks prior to leaving, we packed our luggage as a test to see what we could fit and found we had plenty of space. We spent 3 nights in Marseille at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Vieux Port. This hotel has a great location for touring as the hop on hop off bus was about a block away and the electric bus stopped in front of the hotel. We would highly recommend this hotel and Marseille.Embarkation was very easy as only a few people seem to embark in Marseille. We were on by 12n and went directly to our cabin (13034) which was ready for our arrival. This is a mini suite with a good size balcony. We asked our steward for a lounge for the balcony and she provided this within a hr of our arrival. We have sailed in mini's on other ships and found this cabin to be a little smaller but it does have a ton of storage space. We asked for additional hangers and was able to hang all of our clothes. The bathroom set up was not something we were happy with but we adjusted. Just a couple of tips, the light for the sink is under the vanity mirror , don't forget to put your room key in the slot by the door so the AC with work and lastly the do not disturb sign is on the placard outside of your door. This cabin was located close to the forward elevators which was easy and noise free. Also, pay attention to the color of the carpet outside of your cabin and look for that when getting off the elevator on your floor.We found the food overall to be very good. The buffet had lots to choose from and plenty of tables. At times it was busy but we always found a place. We enjoyed going up to the area at the very front of the buffet as it has great windows and is wonderful to watch sail aways and sunsets. We ate in the Manhattan room, buffet , O'Sheehan's, La Cucina and Shanghai. We would probably not pay the additional for La Cucina and Shanghai again as they were just average and the other location offered good choices.We attended two shows, Blue Man Group and Legends. We were disappointed in both and would not recommend them. As for excursions we did two NCL tours and would rate them a 6 out of 10. The first problem was that NCL staff was very disorganized and confused. we thought this was because we were on one of the first Med sailing, but have read the same complaint from people who have travelled after us. We took the Palma/Valldemossa tour....Loved Valldemossa, this tour only spent less than 1 hour there, Montserrat tour in Barcelona...This is also beautiful but not enough time there as we had to wait in line for about 25 mins of the hour we were given. NCL does offer shuttle, some for a fee and some free in each port. They should publish this ahead so people can plan what they would like to do in port. We took the free shuttle in Civitavecchai into town and walked around, this is where you can get a train to Rome. In Naples we took at Taxi and went to Da Micheles for Pizza, cab was expensive but Pizza was great. It rained very had in Livorno so we stayed on the ship.NCL seems to lack in giving disembarkation information and the staff could not answer questions about disembarking in Marseille and transportation to the train station. We decided to take the NCL shuttle (8.00US one way) to the Vieux Port and take a taxi to the train. The Vieux Port is a distance from where the ship docks, but this worked well for us.We cruise about twice a year and we have not sailed with NCL in a few years. We have never sailed on a ship this large but found that it worked for this itinerary, but it would not be something we would do on an itinerary that had a lot of sea days. We would sail NCL again but prefer smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
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