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686 Norwegian (NCL) Singles Cruise Reviews

Great value I had a great time and would definitely do it again. The ports were well chosen, just the time at the ports could be longer. It was sometimes a little bit rushy. The food onboard is great, a final cake walk would be ... Read More
Great value I had a great time and would definitely do it again. The ports were well chosen, just the time at the ports could be longer. It was sometimes a little bit rushy. The food onboard is great, a final cake walk would be great, and thr prizes at the specialty restaurants are too high.the food there is great though. Overall, there is a good chance beeing again onboard NCL The staff is friendly, the entertainment was great and the bar tenders new their job well. However adding 20%on every single onboard service is unreasonable. Also the prices for excursions are far too high, you can make some excursions in half prize, if you do them by yourself. Both are things not related with the cruise, more likely with the policy of NCL. Freestylecruising is a good invention and makes the cruise enjoyable for everybody. Overall, well done and save sailings Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Lets start out by saying that we know the free at sea air program is new but.... it needs a serious overhaul. They had us going from el paso to seattle then to orlando the way there. 6pm -6am . Shuttle from the airport doesn't arrive ... Read More
Lets start out by saying that we know the free at sea air program is new but.... it needs a serious overhaul. They had us going from el paso to seattle then to orlando the way there. 6pm -6am . Shuttle from the airport doesn't arrive until 9 and doesnt leave until 11. No food allowance for the 12+ hours of sleepless travel and we couldn't change anything so we stuck it out. The embarkation process was the best thing. Private escort so we didnt have to wait in line, VIP lounge with snacks and refreshments expedited check in. Amazing. But they lost a couple items from the drop off to our rooms, nothing to bad but rather a small annoyance ( among many) The view from the balcony was one of the highlights of our trip. Although it is unusable for the majority of the trip. It's super windy when the boat is moving and the hot tub takes for ever and a day to fill and was way to hot even for a hot tub. complimentary bottle of champagne, everyday snacks delivered was one thing the was amazing to have but there were days when the snacks weren't allergy friendly so the entire room couldn't enjoy them. The buttler francis was amazing but the concierge rubbed us very wrong from the beginning pushing expensive villas we repeatedly said we didnt want was one of the first. The room attendant was great and very attentive to our room but had complaints from others on our floor. They stopped doing towel animals which was sad but our butler did them for us. It was a hit or miss for enjoying our balcony because spinnackers bar was directly over us and a nice quiet still night turned into an obnoxious frat party real quick almost every night. The suite is in the front of the ship and all the dining options are in the back so you had to walk but it wasn't a very big ship for it to be a problem. My main complaint/concern is that we didnt know what duties and amenities were available to us from the staff. Feeling like we didn't utilize all the perks of our room was a little disappointing. Dining was great. Cagney's had complimentary breakfast and lunch for VIPs so it was a nice place to go to have a quiet meal. Portions are perfect. Enough for you to taste the food and go through all the courses. I never felt like I couldn't make make it to desert. Con: the staff is so fast at cleaning and clearing the table that I often found that I had to reorder a course because I blinked and it dissapeared. The food wasn't exotic. It was delicious and always had a variety but there wasn't something on the menu every night that I have never had before which was a little disappointing. Entertainment was great from the comedians dancers bands and performances. Glow party was a hot mess. There were couples and trios that got way too drunk and way too inappropriate. Not sure if was a rave or a public orgie. Layout got a bit confusing because the aft had only entrances so in order to travel to ANYWHERE else on the ship you had to go a couple floors up or down then towards the front. Once you hit the aft elevators you couldn't get out of the dining area. Elevators were tiny and only fit like 4 adults before you were ontop of another person. Spa was nice but the lady who did my massage insulted my post pregnancy belly and made me cry on two separate occasions by asking way to personal questions and didnt stop. Hurricane humberto was the reason why we couldn't go to great stirrup cay which was understandable and not to upsetting and many passengers expressed how unhappy they were with the decision to take a sea day instead of spending two days at a port or rerouting us to another one. Myself included. Each person was given a 20$ credit for the inconvenience. Overall it was nice but I dont think I'll be splurging on anything over a small balcony for future cruises with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
You have to keep in mind that this is a smaller, dated ship. Your expectations should be equal. I only had one bad experience with LeBistro and would not recommend it. The service on this ship is top notch from one end of the ship ... Read More
You have to keep in mind that this is a smaller, dated ship. Your expectations should be equal. I only had one bad experience with LeBistro and would not recommend it. The service on this ship is top notch from one end of the ship to another. I truly felt like I was part of the Norweigan family. This is a smaller ship and the entertainment quality is not like big ships, but still pleasing. The amount of activity is enough to keep you entertained. There are plenty of games and chances for you to meet and intermingle with others. There is an average amount of shopping onboard. The photos are kept in books, which I enjoy that privacy as opposed to out in the open for all to view. There is a good amount of bars and a good selection of dining choices. The bar staff will keep you entertained. I would have liked to have seen a bigger selections of televisions only because it is football season, but they were strategically placed and I understand why. The atrium is very small and I believe during their refurbishment they should have put more emphasis on this. I believe that they could work with what they have and add more entertainment in that area. I like the fact that there were “get togethers and meets” for different groups. Embarking was confusing. There should be more announcements, more staff, and better visual signage for those who have had a long night or have difficulty with direction. Overall, excellent value for the money, fun time, and enjoyable memories. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
wanted to see the Maritimes, hopefully with fall colors, but too early for that, up the St Lawrence was great, lots of little , villages. fantastic homes in Newport, must hv been nice to have money in those days only downfall was number ... Read More
wanted to see the Maritimes, hopefully with fall colors, but too early for that, up the St Lawrence was great, lots of little , villages. fantastic homes in Newport, must hv been nice to have money in those days only downfall was number of ports where you had to tender in, some were 25 min each direction ship was very modern, wonderful staff in rooms & eating places ate all meals in Garden Cafe where food was very varied and good dress was casual which I prefer , entertainment in Stardust lounge very good enjoyed Halifax, Pier 21 was very enjoyable ( this is where immigrants landed, and had a Titanic exhibit, weather was good, sea rough coming into Rhode Island, end of hurricane Dorian Did not leave ship in most ports because of tendering and I use a cane to get me around very happy with trip and will most likely do it again Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We recently cruised from Venice to Rome via the med. The ship was clean which was great, we were also the only ship to visit Mykonos and Santorini, it was extremely windy and 3 others ships chose not to go there. Santorini is such a ... Read More
We recently cruised from Venice to Rome via the med. The ship was clean which was great, we were also the only ship to visit Mykonos and Santorini, it was extremely windy and 3 others ships chose not to go there. Santorini is such a flying visit that’s it hardly worth it, also it was busy with just our ship, I’d hate to be there when there are others ships too. The biggest disappointment was the food on board, it was just average. We had a specialty dining package where we went to 4 specialty restaurants, only 2 were any good in our opinion, definitely glad I wasn’t paying for it. Staff were not fantastic for the first half of the cruise, for whatever reason they became more approachable and friendly the second half. I did find it strange that vapping appeared to be permitted on the pool deck, even near the food. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I got on Escape quickly after hitting Pier 88 . I was aboard in about 35 minutes . Smooth embarkation . I was in studio on deck 10 , 10551 , I had lunch in Savor and knew it would take time for my room to be ready . I went to spa to ... Read More
I got on Escape quickly after hitting Pier 88 . I was aboard in about 35 minutes . Smooth embarkation . I was in studio on deck 10 , 10551 , I had lunch in Savor and knew it would take time for my room to be ready . I went to spa to get my spa pass sticker and say hello to staff from May cruise . I had dining package so I was able to go to 3 different restaurant , I chose Bayamo and Cagneys and I found out that my hostess was working Bayamo so I went there twice . I knew what the entertainment was like , I went to see Chior of Men and dueling pianos and even did karaoke . Overall entertainment was good . Service throughout the ship was perfect and professional at all times . The Senior staff was always around from Hotel Director to Food and Beverage Director always had my back ! Every place I ate at they knew my name and what I liked for breakfast and lunch . There was only one problem and it has nothing to do with Norweigan . I went to festival on Wednesday , had great time at Dog Pound with friend , then we had to go back to Escape and we encountered a long line in Hamilton Pier , for 9pm return ferry , they put 700 people on 1 ferry . Very unsafe condition ! All and all I was great cruise unfortunately Escape wouldn’t be coming back to NYC , I would definitely recommend Escape for future sailings , staff is excellent from Captain to cabin Stewart . This is my 8th cruise with Norweigan and would recommend them to friends and for 9th cruise my sister will be going with me on Norweigan Customer Service , Host and Hostesses , Spa staff , Wait Staff , Senior Staff were always professional every time I meet them . Departure also went smoothly and with facial recognition it went very smoothly Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My family and I wanted to take a end of the summer vacation together. We cruised August 16-19th. We honestly decided to cruise Norwegian because of the open bar, because we normally cruise Royal Caribbean but drink packages for 20 is a tad ... Read More
My family and I wanted to take a end of the summer vacation together. We cruised August 16-19th. We honestly decided to cruise Norwegian because of the open bar, because we normally cruise Royal Caribbean but drink packages for 20 is a tad expensive. Norwegian open bar was really not worth it the staff was so rude and made the guest feel unwelcome like we were annoying them. The food on the ship was disappointing. A lot of the food was like hospital food with little flavor. The service from the staff was horrible. The majority of the staff including the bartenders and waiters was that they appeared to be annoyed by the guests and seem to have a careless attitude about providing good service. I have travelled on other cruise lines so I understand what quality customer service is and it was not there on this trip. When I would approach a staff member with a simple question no one ever seem to have an answer and the majority of the staff was not able to communicate basic english to answer questions like “where is the bathroom”? Or “what time are we scheduled to be at our next destination?” We upgraded one of our rooms to a balcony and it wasn’t worth it. The room was so tight that you literally had to jump over one bed to get in the room. I really wish I had a picture of that mess. Also, before cruising I was told I had to put a $300 hold per room. I did not have to do that my room key was disabled from making purchases which was fine I did not want to make any purchases. So if your wondering I set my payment to cash on checkin and never went to the service desk to change it. No $300 hold and cards disabled. For smokers they don’t sell Newport’s so don’t run out. Based on this experience this will most likely be our last cruise with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Alaska has always been a must see for me. This was my first cruise and my first solo trip. It was fantastic! Norwegian has everything down to a science, from embarkation to disembarkation. The ship itself is beautiful with so many ... Read More
Alaska has always been a must see for me. This was my first cruise and my first solo trip. It was fantastic! Norwegian has everything down to a science, from embarkation to disembarkation. The ship itself is beautiful with so many places for entertainment, socializing or whatever your heart desires! The dining options are great and will please any palette, young and old. I loved the entertainment. I saw the Jersey Boys, Havana and Prohibition. This ship is so big with so many activities like mini race car driving, mini golf, water slides, walking/running path, full gym. You won't be bored on this ship! All of the staff are profession and so very nice. All you have to do is ask and they will do their very best to accommodate you. I booked all of my excursions through the NCL website. My experience was top notch. My favorite was the 5 Glacier Float Plane Flight to Taku Lodge. The landscape was stunning! And, the salmon bake at the lodge was delicious! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a last minute trip and we were able to get a cabin in a great position (9 Starboard/Aft) and perks included 1 special restaurant meal, 100 min of wifi, and drinks package. Our TA upgraded the drinks package to Premium Plus which ... Read More
This was a last minute trip and we were able to get a cabin in a great position (9 Starboard/Aft) and perks included 1 special restaurant meal, 100 min of wifi, and drinks package. Our TA upgraded the drinks package to Premium Plus which got us the nicer brands as well as bottle water, Gatorade etc. This sailing was packed with families (last week before school starts locally) and packed with many Bridal-Girls getaways. Embarkation-- Super smooth. We were at the pier by 11:30 and they were already boarding group 2...having already boarded Priority folks. Waited maybe 10 min to board (group 13) Lunch--plenty of choices for lunch. Daily Buffet is fine. Bar service at Great Outdoors Cafe was slow at embarkation compared to our last sailing (Aug '18). Sail Away in the Spinnaker Lounge-- they have some but not all of the brands of wines/liquors on the Premium Plus Package. Still they had a few to choose from and the view is great. First Night-Dinner at Le Bistro was EXCEPTIONAL. We enjoyed our meal so very much. The service was outstanding. Food was one of the best at land or sea. The smoked duck salad is delightful. The duck is tender and moist, a hint of smoke and is perfectly pink. Escargot was delicious--plenty of garlic and butter. The rack of lamb -- ordered rare was cooked to perfection. Dining companion thoroughly enjoyed the Steak au Poive. Because we had the Premium Plus bev package we enjoyed plenty of Veuve Cliquot and an incredible bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. The head waiter chose wisely--the wine was a perfect pairing. We were so please with our meal and wrote out cards to thank both the server and chef. Word was sent to the Chef at how much we enjoyed our dinner-- he came out to our table to greet us. A very nice and thoughtful gesture. (Chef agreed the server choose the wine well too!) Grand Stirrup Cay-- we stayed on the ship to enjoy the quiet. Tendering to the island was taking a good deal of time. From what we heard from those who enjoyed the beach--they said the beaches were very nice. Second Night- Dinner MDR -- We had a table by the aft windows and enjoyed a lovely view over dinner. Service was exceptionally good. Again our Premium + package allowed the waiter to bring us a great bottle of red which paired perfectly with the Pappardelle and Braised Short rib. We tried the Gnocchi with pesto... and they were perfectly cooked. We wished the pesto was bolder and similar to the pesto on our starter/app. (garlicky and bold with basil) The flourless chocolate cake was excellent as was the fig/apple crumble. Bliss Lounge- Went to hear the Reggae band and stayed for the "Not so Newlywed Game". Hilarious. Nassau-- Rain squalls blew through as we planned to walk into town-- so back to the pool deck for us. Once folks returned from excursions the pool deck was mobbed.MOBBED. Lines at the bar were slow and they claimed to have no Gatorade. They were so busy no one would go fetch it. Disappointed because not having Gatorade on the Pool deck (part of our bev package) --it a real "miss" in service. The DJ cranked up the music which was entirely TOO LOUD. Our phone decibel screening put it Waaaaay up there.. It was absurd and unnecessary. Third Night- MDR -- after having several great meals in MDR on our Aug 2018 sailing on the Sun... and dinner the night before being so great---our last night's dinner in MDR was a miss all the way around and an unpleasant surprise. Apps-The potstickers were yummy as were the cheesy potato app. That is where the bright spot ends for this meal. The app of Asian noodles salad was so under seasoned--it was as though they forgot the dressing. The seabass was so overcooked and VERY dry. We should have sent it back. The Calamari over orzo was ok..we had it as a side dish. Desserts were all misses, the cannolli was not nearly as decadent as a ricotta filled cannoli should be, the coconut cake had no real coconut flavor and the carrot cake was missing spices and a decent cream cheese icing. Service was good and the waiter choose an excellent Sauvignon Blanc. Stateroom-- Our stateroom seemed like it had been refurbished. The cabinets were in great shape (amazing amounts of storage) and the bathroom was in great shape. Carpets, drapes, bedding all were decent. This differed from last year's stateroom Aug '18 also on this ship. Last year--our stateroom on deck 8 was in bad shape and the cabinet drawer fronts were loose. Stateroom attendant.. rarely saw him.... Room was spotless. WiFi We had 100 min of wifi and when I tried to connect-- it was so slow/bogged down, I gave up. Turned the cell phone back to airplane mode Misses-- --At Guest Services I asked for distilled water for CPAP about 2pm embarkation. Didn't arrive. T So the next morning when we saw our attendant -he said that the Guest Services had not gotten a message to him. He fetched the water for use the other nights. --Bartenders at pool deck were overwhelmed. Got wrong orders and the bar was out of Gatorade. Bartenders had eyes and attention for the girls-trip groups in thong bikinis and overlooked others. In fact the girls in front of myself and an older woman behind me--ordered for us at the bar because the bartenders seemed to not "see" us. My traveling companion had the same problem with other bartenders as well. Hits--Exceptional meal and Exceptional service at Le Bistro. Stateroom was kept very clean. MDR Seven Seas Dining staff works hard and delivers nice service. Hit/Miss-- Kitchen for MDR--after having several great meals-- delivered one evening of almost all misses. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Alright first the Cons: I’ve been on breakaways sister ship the getaway 4 times and i know both ships are identical but their not. Breakaway wasn’t put together as well as her sister ship. What i mean is noise. I booked a studio ... Read More
Alright first the Cons: I’ve been on breakaways sister ship the getaway 4 times and i know both ships are identical but their not. Breakaway wasn’t put together as well as her sister ship. What i mean is noise. I booked a studio cabin 11563 it was horrific. First thing is every morning at 6am the cleaning staff would start working on the floor. This included an access door that slammed so hard that my room would shake. And this door would slam shut almost every 10 seconds. I couldn’t understand it and counted the seconds in between.. The only conclusion i came up with is that the cabin stewards were intentionally going through this door to wake people up and get them out of their rooms so they could begin cleaning them. I mean horrifying loud. My other nightmare were these young kids who were booked in the studio cabins. Another nightmare. The punk in 11567 would invite his juvenile friends from across the ship to enter his cabin after 1am for a late night party. Leaving the studio cabins acess door unlocked for easy entry. I could hear every word until 4am where i called security twice that week. The other time i called security was when after midnight one night i could hear a girl screaming like she was being assaulted right down my hall. I’ve cruised 16 times on ncl and loyal to them as a platinum cruiser, but i will never return to breakaway. The pros: everything after was awesome. The specialty restaurants were excellent, i ate in both cagneys & la cucina incredibly delicious. Every day was sunny and bright and the pool packed with people. The bartenders were efficient and kind. I suggest giving them tips as this will insure a quick return on your money. They really appreciate it and most don’t tip. Atrium had great shows which were entertaining and fun as the atrium is the heart of the ship so arrive early. Loved all ports of calls except belize, because as a private island i don’t agree having to pay for everything. Ship staff was amazing and the bar manager sent me a bottle of red wine. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise because I had never been to Alaska and since I’m an NCL Latitudes member I was excited to experience the newest ship in the fleet that was built especially for Alaska. I persuaded a friend who lives in Seattle to go ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had never been to Alaska and since I’m an NCL Latitudes member I was excited to experience the newest ship in the fleet that was built especially for Alaska. I persuaded a friend who lives in Seattle to go with me although she was reluctant as she had only cruised once before, years ago before the stabilizers, and had gotten seasick. I’m not sure she believed me when I told her how smooth it would likely be. Embarkation and disembarkation were an unbelievable breeze….the best I’ve every experienced….NCL has this people moving thing down pat. When we embarked we immediately went to The Local and had lunch. By the time we were done, our bags were at our stateroom door. I very carefully chose our cabin because I knew that the size of the ship and the number of passengers would irritate my friend. It couldn’t have turned out better for us. I chose a Spa Balcony cabin that was directly under the spa so it was not noisy. We were on the same deck as the Observation Lounge and also had our own private balcony. Up one flight of steps and we were in the spa (passes were included in our category) or we could go to the buffet for a quick bite to eat. The Observation Deck also had light breakfast and lunch and an awesome bar. All those venues had great ocean views and with the exception of the buffet, a good amount of privacy. I love the spa and because a limited number of passes are sold, I never had to wait for a heated lounger. Even the Observation Lounge was pretty uncrowded when we were there….usually early in the morning or late at night. We did go to activities in other areas of the ship but the point is, we wouldn’t have had to…..everything we needed and wanted was right on those 2 decks. So for those who don’t like the big ship experience (and I see a lot of those complaints in these reviews) this is what I would recommend. Also, book everything you want to do as soon as NCL will let you….you can always cancel and other cruisers will be happy to fill your slot but there are many things that fill up fast and then you’re probably out of luck. The cabin itself was well laid out (beds by the balcony rather than the closet) and was plenty of room for 2 people, although no one could call it spacious. I can’t imagine having 3 in a room like this although it is advertised to accommodate 3, maybe a couple and a small child. We really enjoyed the beverage package. It was fun to try drinks we’d never had before and I discovered I like White Russians. The first time I ordered it the bartender made it with cream (as it is supposed to be) and it was wonderful but every subsequent bartender told me they only had milk. So I’d go to the coffee bar and get half and half and hand it to them. I don’t think I was very popular with the bartenders…lol. Anyway I would suggest that NCL make cream available behind all the bars. Never had a problem getting a bartenders attention or a drink in a timely manner. The dining package was fabulous too. We did Cagney’s, Teppanyaki, and La Cucina. The food was fantastic in all of them. One small complaint about Teppanyaki is I think they sit too many people at a table. We were the last to arrive for our table and I was seated on the end by a woman who was left handed. I didn’t notice until we were well into the meal or I would have requested a change of seating because her elbow was in my space the entire meal. We only did 2 shore excursions, the rail trip in Skagway and the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan. They were OK. I wished I had done something where we could see wildlife. I had thought we would see some in Glacier Bay but we didn’t. My fault for not doing more research. We did see a lot of humpback whales though and I was surprised that they came so close to the ship. They would breach and blow through their blowholes….quite an experience….I had only ever seen orcas before. The only difficulty we had on this cruise was when we were in Glacier Bay. They had park rangers come on the boat and talk about the glaciers. They said if you go outside you can hear the glaciers, especially if they are calving. We went out on the balcony to listen and enjoy the serenity only to find that one of the ship’s photographers was 3 decks below us, taking pictures and yelling at his subjects to get them in certain poses and reactions. I called guest services to complain and have him stop. Unfortunately I had to make 3 calls before it stopped and then we think they only moved him to the other side of the ship but we were glad to no longer have him disrupting our enjoyment. Management sent us some sweet treats to apologize and we were happy again. All in all a great cruise and I am doing this ship again in October on the Mexican Riviera. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Cruised many times on RC and NCL has away to go to compare! First time on NCL! First day my friend/roommate was hurt due to hole in ships floor! Spent time in infirmary! No one on the ship did anything to try to appolige or make up for ... Read More
Cruised many times on RC and NCL has away to go to compare! First time on NCL! First day my friend/roommate was hurt due to hole in ships floor! Spent time in infirmary! No one on the ship did anything to try to appolige or make up for their negligence! I ran two flights of stairs & found room where incident occurred before any medical where on scene! With the exception of the Irish pub, the food in the dining room had no flavor nd non creative options! There was no activity by the pool until the very last day! No one even knew who cruise director was! I met more people than he did! Funny enough we called the asst director to our table at 5 o’clock somewhere and expressed the disappointment without ant activity by pool! Coincidence the next day, last day on ship they did a little something by pool! Everyone enjoyed so doesn’t make sense all other days there was nothing! Other than Lesther at sky bar, Reenan the waiter in Aqua and my room steward Lunni, who were exceptional, no staff on this ship made an effort to get to know you, remember your name or display a personality! Such a shame! Even the officers were no mingling omboard until the last day! Excursions def had some wasted time organizing, days in port were short enough yet time was still wasted! Santorini was a disaster! Four ships in port with over a two hour line for cable car as the tour just drops you off and doesn’t tell you about cable car until end when you started on a bus! We did not get any time to shop or enjoy Santorini as we had to wait in this line, people were fighting not enjoyable & stole two hours of my time and a missed sunset! UGH. On that same day a women on the bus picked a fight shouting curse words across the bus the entire day! The tour guide should have thrown her off yet said nothing allowing her to taint that part of the day! I paid good money for this excursion from the ship on an island I wanted to enjoy to have it ruined! Oh and let’s point out the alternative of walking down the cliff on the donkey trail for 20 minutes in donkey poop, which was not an option to save time due to my friend being hurt on day one due to ships negligence! Last day in Croatia was cut early forcing everyone to change a schedule just to hurry up and wait causing us to get back into port in Venice over an hour late! Added stress! I feel there is a long way to go and some considerable customer service courses needed here! Almost forgot the two days my toilet in the room would not flush! Reported it, was kept up till 3 am while a man worked in closet next to room to wake up with only 2 hours sleep and still not have a toilet that works! July 2019 Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The cruise was amazing! The food was fantastic, especially the specialty dining! The service was great, very hard working people that always went above and beyond. Thr entertainment was amazing! I saw Burn the Floor twice, rock of ages ... Read More
The cruise was amazing! The food was fantastic, especially the specialty dining! The service was great, very hard working people that always went above and beyond. Thr entertainment was amazing! I saw Burn the Floor twice, rock of ages was playing and Deuling pianos was super fun to watch! There is always something to do on the ship. The main pool was always packed with people and great entertainment on the stage. It took me a little bit of time to get use to the ship because it's so big.  The excursion were great! I did zip lining, a resort but that didnt cost anything, visit a Mayan family and dolphin encounter.  I see why people cruise all the time. I would do it again with NCL Breakaway! This time I traveled solo, but next time I would travel with friends and family! Its definately something to experience with others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My parents booked this cruise as a gift to me for my 22nd birthday , (07/14) . From the second I got there , I was treated far better than any all inclusive resort in Cancun or Punta Cana . I had a studio room , the studio is small but ... Read More
My parents booked this cruise as a gift to me for my 22nd birthday , (07/14) . From the second I got there , I was treated far better than any all inclusive resort in Cancun or Punta Cana . I had a studio room , the studio is small but full of everything u need . Shower , toilet , sink , very comfortable bed , closet , tv , and these party lights installed all throughout our he room which really changed the mood of the whole trip . The buffet food at the restaurant was okay , however the exclusive restaurant were out of this world . Le bistro, was superb , the Manhattan was great , moderno had amazing meats . The drinks were made to perfection . Nothing watered down, all drinks premium and perfect with the alcohol . The amount of friends I made on this cruise is unreal . Norwegian does everything they can to make it as easy as possible to have a good time . If you are early 20s or late teens , definitely book a cruise with Norwegian because they give you everything you need , full of activities , you just have to make the best and most fun of it . Which is fairy easy Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I'd heard that NCL was similar in quality of food and service as Celebrity, but I quickly found this not to be true. The timing was right and I wanted to visit Iceland and Norway, so I booked a guaranteed outside cabin. ... Read More
I'd heard that NCL was similar in quality of food and service as Celebrity, but I quickly found this not to be true. The timing was right and I wanted to visit Iceland and Norway, so I booked a guaranteed outside cabin. Southampton was not easy to get to from Scotland by public transport, and it wasn't my first choice for starting a cruise, now I've done it once, I'll avoid it in future. Embarkation was smooth for me, I did need a wheelchair to avoid standing in line, something which has become a challenge for me. The staff were really kind and helpful, so I was feeling very positive about the cruise. I enjoyed a nice lunch with wine in Windows, but I never saw this pair of waiters again. It was freestyle dining, so you could sit with different people every day. That was a nice touch, but the dishes on the menu were repeated almost every day. The flavours weren't strong and there were some odd combinations. If you like bland food, a rib eye steak option and bruschetta every day for dinner, then Windows or Garden are the place to be, but some of the desserts were very sweet and also lacking in flavour. I also like vegetarian food from time to time, but the dishes I chose were usually overcooked and not balanced. The vegetable sides were usually good, but my prime rib, although huge, was undercooked and cold and I needed horseradish to bring out the light flavour. I found out that the food is sourced from USA for this European cruise, so I guess the meat and fish were frozen. I missed the wonderful range of fresh berries, but I can recommend the pineapple and melon in Raffles! My cabin was close to the elevators and I had a direct line to Raffles, the buffet where I went for most breakfasts and lunches. I had to walk to the next set of lifts, go up 2 floors, then walk back and down 1 flight if stairs to reach Windows, so I didn't want to go to Windows often (I had the option to call for a wheelchair, but I was trying to get fitter without exhausting myself). I did try a speciality restaurant, Shogun. I was told the sushi was good - it was certainly a big portion! I'd been warned about the menu already, so selected the orange beef which was chewy and I couldn't taste or see any orange. The TV didn't always work in my cabin, I had problems with the WC too, but the shower was lovely. The bedroom was big for one person and it was kept clean by my steward, but I missed the cute towelling animals I'd seen on other cruises every night before bed. Spa usually a highlight, but disappointing on this ship, but I did appreciate the facial and the hot stones massage! The entertainment scheduling was bad, with most of the 'best' shows scheduled on days when we were late leaving port, so if you wanted to eat first, you missed the show. Being a morning person, I cannot comment on the late night entertainment. Some of the shows were fantastic, others mediocre. Something for most tastes and all family shows. I attended a Martini tasting which was excellent and a few of us guests wondered if this was the main focus of the cruise - alcohol - I did buy a basic drinks package, and enjoyed a few cocktails - the bar staff were always chatty, no matter which bar; my favourite was the Cafe because she was generous with the nutmeg on my Painkiller! I didn't visit the casino, but it seemed adequate. We only had 1 day suitable for swimming, (most days fine, but we did cruise north, so it wasnt warm enough for me) and I went for a look after the shore excursion. Of course, it was packed, so I missed out. Others enjoyed the pool regularly, or huddled close by in thick sweaters and coats on the colder days. We were very lucky with the weather on most of our shore excursions. It rained in Belfast, but the trip to the Antrim coast and Giants Causeway was beautiful and the rain did stop a few times. I also enjoyed Blarney Castle, but regret not spending some time in Cobh, so I will go back again. I had to pace myself due to recent illness, so I didn't take excursions every day. NCL does charge a lot for the excursions, but the guides are good and on one, we got a Gaelic coffee, on the Golden Circle tour, we got soup and salmon - I can recommend this beautiful tour with so much geology and history, but I'd advise to search for a local tour, it may be better value. I liked Njordfjord, but others didn't. It's a new cruise stop, so not too touristy compared to Geiranger. I enjoyed my walk to the replica Viking Ship. The views at both Norway locations are outstanding! I have a great video of the geyser! For Amsterdam, the journey by local bus and train was almost an hour in each direction. There were tours available either by bus or canal. For Bruges, the port is another ferry port, so very busy and quite a distance by public transport - I was tired that day, and the weather was overcast, so I stayed on board, along with a few people, but the entertainment offered didn't appeal to me so I read another book. I was travelling alone and joined the Solo group. It was quite well attended, and we were invited to join activities other than eating together. You could join in as much as you wanted. It was fun to meet people from other countries. I was surprised at how many countries we represented. Spanish is always helpful on a cruise, especially with the staff, but a lot of passengers also spoke that language and we had different European countries represented as well as Australians and Americans. I'd visit these areas again, but not with NCL. Spirit is being refurbished in January 2020, but until their staff are better trained, I wont be joining a NCL cruise. Most of the staff I met were new. I met one person who'd been with other cruise lines and had 10 years+ experience compared with most of the others with 1-3 months on their first cruise ship. His customer service was excellent, but some of the staff ignored you or pushed past to get into the elevators. I was not the only one disappointed in the food and service. I also know that other passengers enjoyed the cruise a lot more than me, and they will go back. Different people with different tastes - this one just didn't suit me. I also missed the formal nights. I'd been told there was a white party, so I had packed accordingly, but it was only on once, and began during the second show, a late night event, so I could have saved the space in my bag! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The quality of the crew, their attentiveness and professionalism was far lacking. It was apparent they did not care to be on the ship. From boarding to disboarding the overall attitude toward passengers made me wish I was not there. The ... Read More
The quality of the crew, their attentiveness and professionalism was far lacking. It was apparent they did not care to be on the ship. From boarding to disboarding the overall attitude toward passengers made me wish I was not there. The quality of the food was horrendous, soups had no whole ingredients and were clearly powdered. I myself was sick the entire trip! The setup on ship was a detriment to anyone not there with a whole family as they corralled guests into areas such as Skyline for evening parties (an area much too small for all guests) and then closed the only place to get a drink when passengers engaged in fighting due to the cramped conditions. The adult only pools/ hot tubs were nearly never enforced! I never got to enjoy the pool/ hot tub areas due to an excess of children present at all times splashing and screaming. When I put forth the money to get a spa experience in hopes of some kind of relaxation I was shorted the whole service (tip to toe) including a collagen eye treatment I never received even after asking about completing the service. It was nearly impossible to find a quiet space or other singles on the ship. I spent more money on this cruise than my last and am utterly shocked by my experience with Norwegian as a whole. No kind of vacation I would choose for myself again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to go to the Bahamas and it was a reasonable price with reasonable package prices as well. I’m so glad I decided to go. Everyone on the ship was very polite and a joy to be around. We had tons ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I always wanted to go to the Bahamas and it was a reasonable price with reasonable package prices as well. I’m so glad I decided to go. Everyone on the ship was very polite and a joy to be around. We had tons of activities and things to do. Richard was a great director and the activity staff was awesome as well. Also, the bar tenders in bliss lounge were so caring and understanding. They knew when we needed drinks and when we didn’t. We all were a family. They all were great!! The staff and everyone on the ship were very diverse and we got along just fine. I’m not sure if I would want to be on a different ship for my next cruise. Can’t wait to plan another sail and see all my favorite staff members. I can’t thank the house keeping enough, they were awesome. And they kept our cabins near and tidy. They understood we were on vacation and needed to be pampered!! Such a wonderful ship to be on! I had a blast!! Until next time Norwegian Dawn Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I joined Norweigan cruise 7 night Hawaii Islands. I joined single and I paid good amount of money. But I don't think it worths the money I paid. The good things first Hawaii is great. Bad things, everything except food is ... Read More
I joined Norweigan cruise 7 night Hawaii Islands. I joined single and I paid good amount of money. But I don't think it worths the money I paid. The good things first Hawaii is great. Bad things, everything except food is payable. I have to pay 9.98 if I want to watch a movie in the tv in my room. I don't even listen the music. There isn't much thing to do in the ship. The entertainment is very poor. Before I joined two cruises with Princess and they were much more better than Norweigan. The food was better, the entertainment were far more better. Also Princess gives you beach tote, so if you foreget to bring your beach tote you can use it. But Norweigan didn't give anything. I could watch tv free in Princess but I have to pay in Norweigan. Princess cruises had big screen top of the cruise, so you could watch film or any sports activity there, Norweigan doesn't have screen on the top of the ship. The food area in Princess were bigger than Norweigan. Here is a little bit narrow, because of that there is a chaos in breakfast lunch and dinner time in self service area. The one other small thing, in Princess the staff left chocolate on your bed after clean the room. There isn't anything like in Norweigan cruise Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Beware of what you think you are paying for!! Most likely it is NOT SO!! So I chose this cruise being that I had the Forth of July week off from my job. This fit great in to my plans, and I didn't have to rush back to work on ... Read More
Beware of what you think you are paying for!! Most likely it is NOT SO!! So I chose this cruise being that I had the Forth of July week off from my job. This fit great in to my plans, and I didn't have to rush back to work on Tuesday...Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth! That being said..... I didn't have big expectations for the ship, although the Norwegian Sun was refurbished in 2018 and the public rooms and cabins had the refreshed look, the feel of the ship was still old and out dated. Also, I wasn't aware that every passenger on the ship had the free drink package...so really, this is a "drunk" cruise. Beware! It felt like a half step up from a Carnival party cruise. On that note, one thing I was disappointed in was that there were no enrichment activities available during the day, such as classes or tastings, etc., that I have always enjoyed on other cruises. I believe that that this is due to the open bar policy, and Norwegian doesn't expect that a bunch of drunk cruisers would have the need for learning anything. They did have PLENY of BINGO though! yay :( I upgraded to a balcony cabin so that we could receive the "Take all" package offered to balcony guests. This is where I had the most problems with this cruise. BEWARE BEWARE!!! This offer included the top shelf drinks package, 100 minutes of WIFI and specialty dining for all nights of our cruise. There was also a $50 credit for a shore excursion for ONLY 1 passenger per cabin, but because most of the excursions cost a lot more than needed to be, we opted to not book one. The only package to be worth this upgrade was the drink package. We did enjoy top shelf alcohol (Grey Goose and Hendricks martinis, and a very nice bottle of champagne at dinner. at no additional charge!) very enjoyable! As far as the specialty dining, I made reservations for the Cagney's steak house the first night, followed by the Italian restaurant the 2nd night, and the French place on the 3rd night. After reserving these dining options, I was prompted to add them to a shopping cart, and then 'check out'. So, if you don't have the dining package like I was offered, you would see the cost of the restaurants in your cart, and have the option to pay the upgrade as these specialty places are not included in the included cost of the cruise. In my cart, however, the extra cost for my reservations came out $0.00, so no extra charge for the 3 nights dinners. Or so I thought! On the first night we had an outstanding dinner at Cagney's complete with a fantastic bottle of wine and absolutely exceptional service from our waitress Rhoda! We couldn't wait for the next specialty dinner. However, When we arrived for our table the next night at the Italian restaurant, we were informed that we had been entitled to 1 specialty dining experience for the length of the cruise and we had used that the last night, and it would cost us each $40 additional to eat there. I brought my printed payment proof document down the customer service desk to find out what was up and was told that according to my cruise card we were only assigned 1 specialty experience. I then showed the annoyed rep that I had made the 3 reservations and that the payment came out to $0. This is where I really feel that Norwegian has lost my business forever...back and forth the reps went with each other for over 20 minutes, only to conclude that they didn't feel that we had the bookings according to the "Ultimate Dining Package" that I had upgraded to receive, only reservations. Anyway, I got the same response as many other passengers I had talked to, that they would send a message to the Miami headquarters, and hopefully receive a response the next day, or later. This made me really confused as I asked how was that going allow me to eat at the specialty restaurants without having to pay for them as my package entitled me to? Needless to say, we never heard one word from customer service, or from the Miami office since and it left me with a very disappointed feeling overall for the cruise experience! Also, the "free" WIFI was useless, as neither me nor my roommate was ever able to get a web page on our phones or my tablet...just kept loading, while using up the free minutes! Very inadequate system. In conclusion, I know that this is a way too long review, but I am just trying to warn folks to beware of the so called 'free perks', as they may not be as expected. This cruise cost us over $800. each for 3 nights. I feel that we could have saved a lot by booking on Carnival for a similar, but much cheaper experience! Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This particular cruise checked all of the boxes for length, dates, ports and price. Having cruised over twenty times on Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean, I feel I have a pretty good frame of reference when it comes to ... Read More
This particular cruise checked all of the boxes for length, dates, ports and price. Having cruised over twenty times on Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean, I feel I have a pretty good frame of reference when it comes to making comparisons and following historical trends. That being said, I'll break my review down by topic so readers can skip what they like. EMBARKATION: We arrived in Copenhagen early in the a.m. on cruise day. We handed our luggage off to VALIZO after customs so we could explore the city without the burden of suitcases. They were happily waiting for us to arrive and provided outstanding, to-our-stateroom-door, service for a very reasonable price. We purchased a 24-hour pass for the Copenhagen public transport system (good for bus, metro, and train) and hopped on the Metro to the city center for a fun morning of shopping and exploring. After doing some homework, we learned we could catch bus 25 or 27 from Osterport Station directly to the Oceankaj cruise terminal. The bus stop was absolutely slammed with people. Bus after bus came and went - the driver shaking his head that he was full - and more and more people arrived with hopes of a ride. Even though a courteous line had formed early on, new arrivals just went to the front of the line and stood there like they'd been there all along. Many more buses came and went and none of us got on. After about an hour, we decided to grab a taxi for about $22. The cruise terminal was very poorly organized. There were groups of passengers walking every which way and clogging up whatever traffic flow existed. We finally made it to the check in counter. The family of four at the neighboring agent's station all stood across the whole counter with their elbows on it (only one person is actually required to do the check in), so we had to shout over the top of them to our agent and pass paperwork over their heads. This sort of behavior would set the tone for most of the cruise, so I won't dwell on the manners of fellow passengers. Just be prepared that courtesy is not the norm. Finally walked onto the ship. Not a greeter in sight! For each and every past cruise we have been met with a kind, "Welcome aboard!" greeting and a glass of champagne. For this cruise the gangway entrance was lined with little clumps of very grimy balloons. Woo-hoo!! Staterooms weren't quite ready, so we ordered a glass of wine and explored the ship. There were two or three dining area available, but they were full of passengers sitting at the [dining] tables and waiting for their rooms so we didn't have an opportunity to sit and eat. DECOR The ship public areas were clean and well staffed. The overall décor on the ship is rather subdued. Nothing spectacular or opulent. The dining rooms are small and cramped. The theater looked like a second rate high school auditorium, with acoustic ceiling tiles lined in LED light tubes to make squares. The atrium bar, the hub for the daily activities/games/etc. is just a giant, poor resolution, video screen with a good many spelling errors in its announcements. STATEROOM We had a Spa Balcony in a nice forward location. The room was clean and our room steward, Kepler, was efficient and very friendly. The balcony is smaller than we are used to having in the same category room and the guy in the room next door would just sit outside and sing very loudly a great deal of the time. Storage could have been better. The drawers are next to the carpeted floor and do not slide open and closed very easily. Even with the key card in the slot, the A/C never really got cool and it shuts off after a short while and you have to re-press the snowflake button. Water pressure in the shower just sucked. At full force and with the head at its most open angle, the water would fall down next to the controls. Hugging the pipes was the only way to get a shower. We only got a towel animal after asking for one on the last night. No more chocolates on your pillow, folks. SPA We were psyched to have complimentary access to the Thermal Spa with our stateroom category. The spa is full of great amenities: Hot and Cold Ceramic loungers, a sauna, a steamroom, showers, padded deck chairs, etc. We went several times, but there was no "relaxation" in the equation. Each time, despite the numerous wall signs that say "QUIET AREA", there were passengers that were having loud conversations (trying to talk over the jets) and kids running and shouting. We passed several other passengers in the access hallway who were leaving because of the noise. Complaining to the staff was of no avail. Prices for treatments were quite high. Kepler came to us on day four with a cool coupon for $50 off of a treatment for port days, so we went right to the spa and tried to book something. There were zero available treatments for the remainder of the cruise. So much for the cool coupon. DINING The buffet gets a F- from me. Poor selection, cold and stale food, horrible organization and traffic patterns. Not enough seating for the size of the ship. I've been to a myriad of cruise ship buffets and this one is the singular worst. We ate in two of the complimentary dining rooms: Tropicana and Savor. Both were just "meh". Service was slow and food was never hot. Menus lack any imagination. We did enjoy our specialty dining experience. Ocean Blue was top-notch in every way. Le Bistro had a great menu and fabulous servers. Moderno has a unique dining experience with traveling servers with meat skewers - you get a red/green card to place on the table and they don't stop serving you until you flip it to red. Everything was delicious. Cagney's was just okay. We were seated in the direct sunlight (even with blinds down) so we could not actually see each other. Lobster bisque tasted burnt. All that being said, the "specialty dining" quality is what used to be complimentary on cruises for those who chose the main dining room. It is the sad truth that the cruising experience is all about the upcharges for the cruise company. A note to anyone from NCL who might be listening: Put a sign up indicating the line for those "WITH RESERVATIONS". Each restaurant hostess seemed to be clueless as to what to do with people. They barked out orders to "just get in line", so if you had a reservation, you still had to wait for those without them to be seated ahead of you. HUH??? DRINK PACKAGE We got the Ultimate Drink Package as one of our complimentary amenities. A word of caution, it is not a "free" perk. You have to pay a pretty large gratuity up front to even get the package (same with the Dining Package - 20%?). After the fact, we did the math to figure we really did not get anything for free. We are moderate drinkers, so 2-3 drinks per day each. You are limited to any drink under $15. Anything above you have to pay the difference. There were very few glasses of wine that fell within that free range. There were many familiar selections that cost $14 per glass that I could buy the whole bottle at home for $7.99. I'm not arguing that servers should not get a gratuity. I do question whether they actually receive what I pay up front. I'd rather tip in person for good service. PORTS OF CALL All of the ports were great and leaving the ship was well organized. We did Berlin By Train and Leisure Time. Lots and lots of walking and (as noted in the tour description) the train is NOT air conditioned. Unfortunately, our train broke down. It was 98 degrees F in Germany. We sat for a LONG time in the heat (not allowed to leave the train for safety reasons) and waited for another engine to come and push us into a station and then waited some more for another to tow us to Berlin. The NCL team did extend our time approximately 2 1/2 hours so that we would get the full tour and all of our free time. That meant the ship had to wait for us to get back. When we returned, we were greeted by a line of officers apologizing for the trouble (where were they on Embarkation Day??). I was absolutely SHOCKED when all 600+ of us were then allowed to re-board the ship WITHOUT going through ANY security scanners or having our packages inspected. I'm sure this was done in the sake of expedience, but I really didn't appreciate the captain and crew potentially sacrificing the safety of its passengers for something that saved 30 minutes time. Luckily, nothing happened as a result. Had something terrible occurred because of a passenger bringing something back they should not have, it would have been through sheer negligence. Best of St. Petersburg and Leisure Time was great. We took it because we were bamboozled by the cruise line that you have to use their excursions to get off the ship in Russia. I should have done more research, because we paid too much through NCL and got less than through private operators. We planned to stay on the ship for Day #2 of Russia because the time of departure was changed from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. I'm sure that messed up some folks who made Day #2 private excursion plans. We did Best of Gdansk in Poland (great tour), Stockholm On Your Own (basically a bus ticket from the port to town - 45 min. away), and HOHO bus in Helsinki. A note of warning about the Shore Excursions credits. I learned from previous experience that you have to book them in advance via TELEPHONE, and not using the online reservation system, in order to receive your Latitudes discount and $50 per port credit. I did that for all of my excursions way in advance and the Norwegian rep on the phone quoted me the total price, including Latitudes discount and port credit. However, when I got on board and had participated in two excursions already, I noticed on my account that I had received the $50 credit but not the Latitudes discount. When I went to the SE desk, I was told you have to SHOW your room card to the SE desk to receive the Latitudes discount. I have never had to do that before, as my Latitude status was always built into my account. Anyhoo….I did what they said and they then applied the discount. So, make sure you check yours. I found it all to be weird. I wonder how many people let that slip by their notice? Hmmmmm….. ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT The bars were fun and always full of people. I was excited for the Ice Bar, but we didn't go when we found out it was another pricey upcharge. Burn The Floor was amateurish and boring. Million Dollar Quartet was definitely a highlight. The four guys were oozing talent and the narration was well acted. Could have lived without the chick singing Priscilla's role, tho. LOL Passengers were always actively engaged in the game shows, bingo, trivia, etc. that took place in the Atrium. It's always loud there, which amps up the fun-factor but degrades the experience of those trying to have a conversation at Guest Services or eat a nice meal at Le Bistro outdoors. On a positive note, I won quite a bit at slots in the Casino!! I always test out the machines on cruise ships to find that one machine that's a little loose with the payout. No one anywhere around me was winning squat. ONE BIG NEGATIVE What's with the VIBE beach club taking up the ENTIRE forward part of the ship??? This isn't a beach cruise and it's not really even an outdoorsy cruise (weather most evenings was chilly). The VIBE tix were $200 per person. If you didn't purchase, you couldn't even stand on an open deck forward to enjoy the sea. C'mon!!! OTHER Due to a mild medical emergency, I had to use the ship's medical facility. A brief consult with the doc, a blood test, a tube of OTC Cortisol cream, a pack of OTC Allegra = $925. No insurance is accepted. You have to pay up front and then submit with your own insurance. DISEMBARKATION We had an NCL transfer to the airport. Lots of pushing and shoving by passengers stressed about making flights, but otherwise fine. IN SUMMARY We had a good time DESPITE the failures of NCL and the general demeanor of our fellow passengers. Cruising has become another Walt Disney World where you pay for a ticket to get in and then pay a lot more to get a true quality experience. Many of the "little things" that used to be included are a thing of the past. (Remember the waiters dancing and singing, the midnight buffet, the "grand" buffet with all of the carvings, towel animals, flaming Cherries Jubilee??.....SIGH) All of the nickel-and-diming truly degrades the experience. NCL used to be our favorite. Going to jump ship over to Celebrity for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my best experience with NCL but, as on previous cruises, the full time assault on your senses with the myriad methods of selling is offensive and pervasive. The cruise itself was wonderful with an excellent crew and wonderful ... Read More
This was my best experience with NCL but, as on previous cruises, the full time assault on your senses with the myriad methods of selling is offensive and pervasive. The cruise itself was wonderful with an excellent crew and wonderful food as long as you stay away from the assaultive passengers in the Garden Cafe. The ports were of great interest for me and I bought more excursions than I usually do but I would say that they were disorganized and clumsy. I heard many comments from fellow guests wondering if this was the first time they were organizing these events. The food was wonderful and Chef Bennet was personable and very helpful with my dietary requirements. If he had a restaurant I’d be there every day. Miroslav, Barnabe and Mylene stood out as excellent ships ambassadors. Maybe the ship is just too big. I’ll try a smaller one next time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I've now set out to cruise on all NCL ships, having sailed too many times on one and the first one (NCL Wind) I sailed on was decommissioned many years ago. The Escape delivered! I purchased a guarantee cabin with one perk, which ... Read More
I've now set out to cruise on all NCL ships, having sailed too many times on one and the first one (NCL Wind) I sailed on was decommissioned many years ago. The Escape delivered! I purchased a guarantee cabin with one perk, which was the beverage package. This was my third guarantee cabin, and all of the locations have been great. The Escape is similar to two other ships I've been on: Breakaway and Getaway. They are all beautiful ships with many activities to suit many tastes. The only drawback I see with these ships is that they are a bit crowded overall and much too crowded in the pool area. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows Choir of Man and After Midnight, as well as the piano entertainer in The District Brewhouse. Howl at the Moon is getting pretty old and sloppy, although I admire the endurance and versatility of the performers. I've seen this show on many of the ships over the years. As a Platinum Latitudes member, this was the first time I was unable to use one of my coupons for a complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant, as they were all booked up. Cagney's delivered an amazing meal and dining experience. Food in general at all of the venues was excellent. As a solo female traveler, I really appreciated the level of service I received at the bars, restaurants, theater, and guest services. I enjoyed a few of the solo gatherings and the coordinator did an excellent job! The New York/Italian/New Hampshire/Pennsylvania/Connecticut crowd was a blast to hang around with! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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