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1,879 Norwegian (NCL) Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending ... Read More
Looking for something fun and stress-free as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, my wife and I booked a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit over the holidays. The itinerary had us leaving Civitavecchia (port near Rome) on the 22nd, spending Christmas Eve - Christmas Day in Venice, seeing Croatia, Montenegro, Florence/Pisa, and Monte Carlo before stopping in Barcelona for New Year's Eve, then returning to Civitavecchia on January 2nd. Because it was a good deal, we purchased the reduced airfare through the cruise line. BIG MISTAKE. Travel to / Embarkation: Delta / Al Italia Departure Flights December 21: - Arrive at LAX, was able to check into Delta flight and check luggage through to Rome, but NOT able to check in for Al Italia flight - Flight from LAX was in Terminal 2, had to check in at Terminal 3, then go back to Terminal 2 - Arrive in New York (JFK) with 1.5 hours to connect - but had to CHECK IN with Al Italia in Terminal 2 - Take shuttle from arrival terminal (4) to Terminal 1, EXIT THE AIRPORT, run to Terminal 2, find Al Italia counter, try to check in - Two of the four of us were checked in for flight to Rome, originally told the other two would not be able to get on the flight (even though our luggage was checked through to Rome?) - After pleading, attendant takes back tickets she’d given to a standby customer and puts us on flight, all separated from each other (not ideal, but ok) - Second attendant rushes us through security, but stopped at screening due to water in daughter’s Hydroflask (She hadn’t realized we’d be going through security a second time, we had to surrender the $40 Hydroflask - enjoy TSA) - Finally get on flight, ten minutes later 13 year old daughter escorted off plane WITHOUT TALKING TO EITHER PARENT. Daughter in tears, afraid she’ll be left in New York by herself. Dad (me) irate. Eventually my daughter was given a seat and the flight departed. December 22: -Arrive in Rome: (Of course) one bag wasn’t transferred, 16 year old daughter left without clothes for what was thought would be two days (bag would catch up to us in Venice, scheduled to arrive there on December 24th) - Arrive at Cruise Terminal, ask to have rooms adjusted (when booked, given two staterooms with one adult in each, even though NCL POLICY stated kids could be by themselves if in ADJOINING stateroom, which we booked) - staff was unable to do so, we were told it had to be done on the ship. - Board ship, go straight to Guest Services. HUGE line of people, apparently a lot of people with issues. - Go to get a couple of beers to enjoy while waiting in line (much needed after the horrible flight/luggage experience). Get a bill (Premium Beverage Package was one of the Perks included in our package). - After 30+ minutes, get to the counter. Representative can’t change rooms, either. Offers to give extra door keys (this was the best they could do). - Representative can’t find any evidence of our perks. - NCL App had LITERALLY showed the perks two days prior, but changed for some reason after we boarded. - Had to fill out multiple forms too have our daughter’s luggage allowed onboard in Venice, including one form twice (?). *Keep in mind we’re dealing with this after 24 hours of travel.* - Representative said she would email their corporate office to see about our perks, but was unable to offer anything else. - Go to room and pay international charges so I can call NCL Customer Service in the U.S. directly. Do so, they assist promptly. December 23: - Go downstairs to verify perks are now showing on my account. At 8 a.m. the line is already forming at Guest Services. Woman behind me is talking to her husband about how she found the email that shows their perks. Must be a common issue. - Get to the counter, finally perks are reflected in our accounts, new cards issued (still in separate rooms). - Decided to get a cup of coffee, found out the $99/day Premium Drink Package doesn’t include coffee from the coffee bar. - Also found out bottled water was NOT included in our Drink Packages either. (Purchase 6 liters for $19.99) - Then found out weather delayed our arrival in Venice until the 25th. (Not the ship’s fault, but daughter would be without her clothes for a third day. (A third day of borrowing clothes from her sister)) Onboard experiences: - Balcony stateroom was very small. Two twin cot-like beds pushed together, a small table as a vanity, a tiny cushioned chair. Balcony was barely deep enough for the chairs. - Specialty dining was OK, certainly not worth any extra $, especially not the Italian restaurant. - Buffet was mediocre at BEST, though the made to order omelets at breakfast were pretty good. I swear they were serving frozen pizza. - Buffet during off-hours was hit or miss at best. - Coffee at buffet was the basic large vat of cafeteria coffee. - Specialty Dining fills up quickly, but we tried three: La Trattoria: Not worth it. Didn't care for the Somelier, either. Cagney's: decent, good steak. Teppanyaki's: Great. Lots of fun, great chef, good food. - Children were EVERYWHERE. - Quiet places to enjoy a drink were non-existent. The main bar/lounge was used for family fun (bingo, dancing lessons, kids vs. adults challenges, etc.). Never less than a half dozen strollers in the bar. - Other bar (Champagne Charlies) was ok, pretty good three person musical group, but small. - Henry’s Pub (mostly beer) was a great hangout spot, but very small. - Shanghai Bar was even smaller, and being situated next to the equally tiny Blue Lagoon 24 hour eatery, seating in the bar was typically in use by people eating. - Only real option for enjoying a quiet glass of wine was in your room - as long as you don’t mind the sound of children running up and down the hallways. Service: Average. Stateroom attendant was very nice and very professional. Also encountered a nice waitress in the main lounge. Service in main dining rooms (Windows or Garden) was very good. Most of the other service attendants were a toss up: some nice, some indifferent, some treating you like you're an inconvenience. Guest services....average at best. First night experience was enough to make me wish we'd chosen differently. Also a bit off-putting when you're competing for seating with the staff. The buffet area was already crowded. Add in workers eating their meals and it gets even more frustrating. Imagine seeing some of the best seating in the main lounge being occupied by ship's staff. Entertainment was good. Enjoyed the Elements and World Beat show. Juggler was probably my favorite (sounds crazy, but he was hilarious). The quartet of singers was also very good. Ports/Shore excursions: The ports saved the cruise. Best, most enjoyable time was when we were off the ship. Venice (Christmas Day) - great city, but still flooded. Very surreal. Very walkable, and since I'd been there previously, we didn't take a shore excursion. Did a gondola ride, a bit expensive but memorable, just COLD. Dubrovnik, Croatia - took the ship-arranged ($15pp) shuttle into town, walked the city walls. Amazing. Inside the city walls was magical, though the wind seems to gain intensity traveling through the small alleyways and blasts you with cold air. Spiced wine helped. Kotor, Montenegro - Ferry drops you off near the small town. Walked through town (on our own) to entrance to steps (1300+) that lead to the fort at the top of the mountain. Guy at the top sells soda, water, and, more importantly, beer. Amazing views from the top. Small town inside the walls was very cool. Cats are EVERYWHERE and very friendly. Livorno (Port City) - we took the Florence/Pisa shore excursion. Pisa was a fun, quick stop, the highlight being, of course, the Tower. Florence was amazing. So much history, so much significance. We will definitely return, preferably when its warmer. Monaco - we took the Nice and Little Train tour, it was okay. Parts of what the tour guide covered were also covered during the Little Train tour, would be good to remove the duplicity in the interest of time. Upon return to Monte Carlo, we had time to see the Christmas village area near the port. Really, really cool. Had Nutella crepes, then the adults enjoyed spiced wine while the kids had hot chocolate. **Return Ferry boarding process was a cluster**** Arriving one hour before the last ferry was scheduled to depart, we spent that hour on the pier waiting. Pretty sure the ship departed about an hour and a half late. Barcelona (New Year's Eve) - Our second time there, so we ventured out on our own. Went to Barcelona Cathedral, very impressive. Spent lots of time on La Rambla. Definitely feels like the center of the city in a good way. La Boqueria Market (Mercado de Boqueria) is a must-visit. So much good food, it'd be easy to pig out, walk around, then pig out again. We determined the New Year's Eve celebration was at Placa Espanaya. Party there was INCREDIBLE. Finished up and ended up walking about two miles back to the ship (catching a cab in the middle of crowd that size was both difficult and impractical), made it back with about twenty minutes to spare. Disembarkation / Return Travel: January 2nd: - Because a port was removed from the itinerary AFTER the flights had been booked, we were given a night’s stay at a hotel in Rome (pretty decent trade off, but Mallorca would have been fun). - We would be transported to the hotel instead of the airport, like our vouchers said. - Asked if transportation to airport was included, was told it was not - 25 buses deliver hundreds of people to the hotel and dump us there. Inside is pandemonium. A few NCL employees were trying to answer the questions of hundreds of people. - Finally found out we’d have to check in sometime after 3, so we stashed our luggage and headed out for sightseeing. - Came back about five, got our room keys. Find out NCL actually DID set up transportation to the airport. - Go to get luggage. NOT THERE. - Hotel attendant tells me they took it to our room. Go to the room. Not there. - Go back down, find out they may have taken it to another person’s room with the same last name…. - Follow the worker to the other room, there’s our luggage. - In the morning, driver was there early and with a van, ready to go. Ride to the airport was the easiest part of travel to that point. (Finally something was easy!) - No issues with return flight. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise to see as much as possible on a short trip. First mistake NEVER board in Rome. The port is a hole, the train serving it has no luggage space and when we arrived at the port the lifts were out of order so everyone ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see as much as possible on a short trip. First mistake NEVER board in Rome. The port is a hole, the train serving it has no luggage space and when we arrived at the port the lifts were out of order so everyone struggled with suitcases, prams etc up and down stairs. The transportation buses were old and cramped and again very little space for bags and no porters. We were in The Haven, very disappointing. The concierge was supercilious and never stood up to address you and seemed to question you when you reported something was incorrect. We had paid for a full drinks package with coffee yet the min bar in the suite was emptied as that was extra even though it was only filled with common beer, wine etc. Instead we could call our butler and get drinks delivered without additional charge but we could not open the fridge and use the mini bar ??? Similarly the I could ask for as much coffee in the suite but if I wanted a latte in a paper cup on deck I had to pay again, why ???? We had an allergy problem in our party and this was acknowledged by a letter in our suite on arrival yet no-one seemed to have informed anyone in the restaurant and every meal was like groundhog day repeating the same issues. There is NO allergy information on menus so be aware !!!!! Trips when tendering were slow, we waited 45 minutes from our designated time to board the tender. The ship was very noisy, rocked a lot especially in open seas and when docking shook a pot, I have never experienced this ever before. Everything in our suite reverberated a lot. Debarkation was a joke, queues everywhere, glad we were in The Haven for this. Dont bother with the Epic Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise as a short getaway. As this is a mega-ship and relatively modern I was expecting something great. Unfortunately it was a let down in almost all areas. The ship itself is in very poor shape. The outside is rusty and ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a short getaway. As this is a mega-ship and relatively modern I was expecting something great. Unfortunately it was a let down in almost all areas. The ship itself is in very poor shape. The outside is rusty and the crew were white-washing the hull when we were docked. The carpeting is threadbare in many areas, particularly the theatre and lounges. The furniture in most of the bars is worn and some has even been patched up to cover holes. The elevators kept breaking down and the buttons didn’t even work some of the time. The sun decks were being constantly sanded and patched up throughout the cruise and a lot of the public spaces were “under maintenance” for most of the cruise. The ship shouldn’t have so much maintenance going on while there are passengers on board. I understand minor things but this was unacceptable. The Epic isn’t due for dry-dock but it desperately needs it. I can’t believe this ship is only ten years old! My cabin was falling apart. The carpeting is peeling up. The cupboards and woodwork is all damaged. The TV wasn’t attached properly to the wall so rattled constantly. The panelling over the bed fell down on the first night due to the extreme vibration of the ship. On the second night the vent in the toilet fell down along with a wash cloth and broken plastic that had been stuffed behind it by someone. The air conditioning vent was also detached from the wall. I raised these issues with customer services and they said they’d send someone to inspect but they never did. The balcony was extremely rusty and the varnish on the railings was peeling off. The food was very good. Couldn’t fault it. I likes the grill/bar place on deck six and the buffet was very good too. Food could have been hotter but that goes for all buffets in life. The entertainment was excellent. I saw all the shows and they were all excellent, especially Pricilla. The other activities onboard were very average and the entertainment staff didn’t seem all that passionate. Something I really appreciated was the amount of live music going on around the ship. Most of the bars had bands playing and they were all really good, Before I boarded I called to cancel some shore excursions I had booked as I had visited most of the ports before. However when I got to my cabin the tickets for the excursions I had cancelled were on the side in an envelope. I had to go to the shore excursion desk and had to cancel them on board. I also had an issue with my onboard account and the staff who dealt with me were quite rude and abrupt. The crew in the bars and restaurants were excellent. I am a solo cruise and was always made to feel looked after which was really appreciated. Overall I was let down by the ship and by some of the staff. I think if NCL want to keep their reputation they need to invest more money into the upkeep of their ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Recommended by a travel agent. Cabin was for a handicapped person, which meant after a shower the entire bathroom floor was wet! Yuck! Shore tours were very expensive for what you got, not very informative, and poorly executed. ... Read More
Recommended by a travel agent. Cabin was for a handicapped person, which meant after a shower the entire bathroom floor was wet! Yuck! Shore tours were very expensive for what you got, not very informative, and poorly executed. Take a Scenic or Viking river cruise to find informative shore tours, these were a bust and mostly self-guided. What a rip. The bed wasn't particularly comfortable, the carpet heavily worn and not particularly clean. Mirrors and windows were dirty and didn't get cleaned on this short trip Cafeteria for breakfast was a 7 out of 10, limited seating was occasionally a challenge. The drink package was very expensive for low volume alcohol drinkers, paid $47 Cdn for 6 litres of water!! Specialty restaurants were very good, but expensive without the drink package. We still paid less than the drink package for two people but it was still $30 U.S. for three beers/wine plus $10 U.S, for access to alcohol. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Haven is now Heaven falling to Earth. The attention to detail is just not there, this was our 4th Haven experience. Yes Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, but one of our party has a severe seafood allergy and snacks were ... Read More
The Haven is now Heaven falling to Earth. The attention to detail is just not there, this was our 4th Haven experience. Yes Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, but one of our party has a severe seafood allergy and snacks were delivered to our stateroom daily with some sort of seafood on the plate. Staff were advised and no changes occurred. On our embarkation day a Massage was scheduled for the Haven massage room and though it was confirmed we had to go searching for the masseuse who was found hawking spa packages to other Haven guests. When advised she was 15 minutes late for her appointment she smiled and said she would be there. On 3 of our 7 day cruise their was sewer gas odors in the 2nd bathroom of our suite. Each occurrence was handled by our cabin staff along with the broken light switch. Overall the entertainment on board was less than stellar. Pricilla Queen of the Desert was fun but the Beatles were terrible. The person playing Paul could not sing or play the guitar. The Beatles had a show every night which after the first we avoided. We did find an excellent singer doing a show by Malting's, he was so popular you needed to show up 20 minutes early to get a seat or just stand. My husband and I have Cruised Norwegian numerous times and always scheduled our Excursions thru them with positive outcomes. All I can say is that was not the case here. We anticipated the beautiful sights and history at each of the 6 stop's and were treated like numbered cattle being brought to numerous markets to further separate ourselves from our Euro's. Yes we saw the sights in passing, but it was not what we anticipated. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have ... Read More
Ports of call where the reason I selected the ship. I didn't explore Barcelona as much as I would have liked due to jet lag. I didn't know that I could have selected the port to start my cruise. Had I known this, I would have started in Rome to have extra time there. This should be advertised better. The epic ship was ok. Since it was November, it was too cold for the pool. Norwegian should make the pools heated in colder weather. I upgraded my cabin to have more space. I viewed 2 shows (Burn the Floor and Priscilla)...both were amazing! I traveled with a group of 30 people, including children. The kids thought the cruise was designed for older people instead of a younger audience. The customer service desk with the worst part of the experience. The employees gave out incorrect information on multiple occassions. This took so much time out that we could have spent doing other things. I requested an iron and never received it. I always would have liked to wash my own clothes on the ship but was unable to do so. I still haven't decided if I would book another cruise with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Epic has great food and bartenders, entertainment was good and many music venues to choose from. There is always something going on on board and plenty of lounge chairs to just relax if that’s what you are looking to do. The ... Read More
The Epic has great food and bartenders, entertainment was good and many music venues to choose from. There is always something going on on board and plenty of lounge chairs to just relax if that’s what you are looking to do. The specialty dinners were terrific and worth the money. The only downside is the size of the cabins are good for two passengers we had were three in a rear facing balcony cabin and the room is limited. The ships engine noise level in the rear of the ship at the H2O bar and next to the water slides is a bit too much and it gets way too loud for our liking. The breakfast choices at the buffets do seem to repeat a bit too much. We didn’t try the restaurants for breakfast but maybe that would be a choice to vary the food choices. Overall we had a great time and did like the free style dining and more relaxed dress code for the dinner venues. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo ... Read More
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo Lounge is a great place to relax, and make new friends. It was always stocked with refreshments and basic breakfast food. I didn't think i would - but i loved every meal from the buffet at the Garden Cafe, and never had a problem with seating. I Loved the breakfast options at Taste and tried to have breakfast there often, but on excursion days i ate breakfast at O'Sheehan's and it was great too! My dining package covered meals at Moderno, Cagneys, Teppanyaki and La Cuchina. I enjoyed all my meals at these restaurants but the Brazilian food at Moderno was by far my favourite! Just too many options to choose from and I couldn't find enough time to try out all the other dining options on offer! The shows i enjoyed the most were Pricilla and Burn the floor! Each and every staff member i came in contact with was friendly and attentive! I had the time of my Life! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The most disappointing of all my cruises. Room design very inconvenient and strange. The steward was just a glorified maid. He made the beds up and that was it. Unavailable for the first 3 days. Calls to housekeeping gave us a recording ... Read More
The most disappointing of all my cruises. Room design very inconvenient and strange. The steward was just a glorified maid. He made the beds up and that was it. Unavailable for the first 3 days. Calls to housekeeping gave us a recording that he was busy helping other travelers. The poor service and attitude was across the board. Like tired workers just moving through the motions. This is a management problem. The only high spot was the Manhattan Room with excellent service. Everything was an additional charge. Treats at the coffee bar were not included. Why? They could offer the same treats as the buffet as well as higher end to be purchased. Room Service - additional cost. Horrible Internet!! Availability of internet staff was minimal. Luggage lock went missing from room, filed a report. Supervisor never followed up. Steward finally said he saw it in the trash he emptied?!? Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic leaving from Barcelona I was in a group of 20 and we all felt the ship was lackluster. This was my first time on sailing with NCL and I will be sticking to my preferred cruise line in the future. Out of all the workers I encountered only 2 seemed to be happy to be working on the ship. All the other workers were miserable, the seated dining service was horrible on one occasion our server brought out the wrong dish to my boyfriend so she took away the wrong order and NEVER brought him what he asked for; thankfully the buffet was delicious because after that experience we didn't go back to the dining rooms. I'm glad that the ships were in port for long periods of time because they didn't have to many activities on ship I usually spend most of my time playing the games/trivia but those were few and far between. We also encountered an issue with our excursion to Florence of the hop on hop off bus tour, our guide warned us it was "end of season" for them so transportation and traffic were going to be bad yet they had no problem charging us as if it was still season they provided us the transportation to Florence and then highly recommended that we didn't use the hop on buses because we'd lose a lot of time waiting for the buses or sitting in traffic. My sister booked a different excursion in Florence and they also had issues with transportation and they recommended to her to take a taxi back our she'd miss the ship. When we got back on the ship they only offered us a 20% refund and didn't seem apologetic or that they even cared. I'm confident that everyone on board my ship was disappointed as well, at all times of the day there was a long line of people at the customer service desk complaining about something. We booked a balcony room 13265 for four and it fit us all well but the layout was very odd we didn't like the open concept bathroom the sliding glass door is just a light frosting so you can see a clear silhouette of whom ever is in there and no one felt comfortable using the restroom peeing alone was amplified to the room because of those stupid glass doors. And I highly ADVISE for everyone to continuously check your bill on the tv they charged me a $30 bar tab that I never made they had to go back into the paper receipts to check for the wrongfully made charge it took a day for them to confirm the accident and remove it from my account. I learned on the first day that i wasn't going to be purchasing on the ship due to the high gratuities and port charge I bought a beer that was menu priced $7 and ended up getting charged $10.50 with all their fees. Poor service and high prices just solidified to stick with the cruise line I know and trust. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ... Read More
We were on the NCL Epic which sailed out of Barcelona, Spain on October 27, 2019. The ports were Rome, Naples, Florence & Pisa, Cannes, France and Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The itinerary was great. We only booked 1 excursion with the ship in Cannes, France and the rest we booked private tours which were less expensive and amazing. We were a party of 4 adults (2 couples) and we all felt the same with the cruise. Our first impression was that the employees were not happy and it reflected in the service we received. For example, we had an issue with an onboard credit and the person at the guest service desk, simply said that I have to take it up with my travel agent as she did not see anything in their system about a credit. She was just plain rude and did not offer to speak with a manager or anyone above her. It was more like that's it, move out the way, next guest. I felt like they did not want to try and resolve the issue like on the many other cruises we have been on with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Those cruiselines definetely know how to treat guests and all guests are treated equally whether you are a VIP guest or a regular guest - everyone is treated equally. on NCL if you are a Haven Guest, you get the royal treatment and if you are not, then you are treated like a 3rd class passenger on the titatic. This was our 3rd cruise with NCL and we decided that we will not do NCL anymore. It's just to many little things that add up. Another thing that they did was that on the last night of the cruise, they locked the mini bar and at 10:30 at night, we did not have access to our water bottle which we had already paid for and was in the refrigerator. I called our cabin stewart and he did not answer, therefore, I had to call the operator 2 times so that they can send someone to open it. That made us feel like if they did not trust the guests as maybe they thought that we were going to empty out the mini bar into our luggage and not pay for it - Well, that makes no sense because they had our credit card on file. That was a "stupid" move on their part and alot of people on board were not happy with that "concept" they are doing now of locking the mini bar on the last night. The lines of people complaining on this particular voyage was huge and they all had the same complaints. We spoke with other guests who were not happy either with the treatment they were receiving. We all felt like a number on the last couple of nights - it felt like they just wanted to get rid of all the guests quickly to get the new guests on board. I regret having left the gratuities pre-paid, it was $210.00 down the drain as none of them deserved a tip. We went to different dining rooms and the treatment was the same, all rude and in a hurry. NCL should really do something about this, as we the guests pay a good penny for our vacations and deserved to be treated nicely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Preamble I’m a 40-something Scot living in Ireland, I travel with my 50-something Irish friend. I’d always wanted to cruise but when I’d looked into cruising in the past the whole notion of set-dining and shared tables was ... Read More
Preamble I’m a 40-something Scot living in Ireland, I travel with my 50-something Irish friend. I’d always wanted to cruise but when I’d looked into cruising in the past the whole notion of set-dining and shared tables was more of a punishment than a holiday for me and I stopped thinking about cruises and took other types of holidays. Then a colleague at work was taken on the Epic and I realized that everything had changed! Now all I want to do is cruise! Travelling from Northern Ireland to Barcelona is a pain, no direct flights for much of the year and even in summer there is no direct flight on a Saturday. So all year we save our Avios points and fly business on British Airways via Heathrow. Makes for a long day but it is mostly enjoyable. We love the lounge access, especially at Heathrow terminal 3 where you are spoiled for choice, and not having to queue too much. We always stay near the airport in Barcelona, using taxis not shuttles. We got to the port extra early on the Sunday in case of any demonstrations but apart from lots of armed police saw no disruption. Getting On Check-in at Barcelona was a mess this year. We were at the front of the latitude line but they opened the general line first and they all flooded the latitude desks. Then there were no checks on boarding group numbers – folk with groups 10 and above were allowed to board with group 1. Not that it really mattered, we always dither about running for Posh Passes and then never do. We were on board and sitting in a quiet O’Sheehan’s enjoying lunch before 12. The cabin We stayed in a large balcony cabin on deck 12. Plenty of space for the 2 of us. We are just friends but don’t find the bathroom set up a problem at all. The twin beds separate enough so you don’t feel you are sharing a bed. I find the beds really comfortable and always sleep really well, the motion of the ships is so soothing. Our cabin steward was great, he was always finished when we returned to the cabin mid-morning and we had ice everyday as requested. I never liked the towel animals and was happy not to get any. What we did and didn’t do This is our third cruise on the Epic and we have loved it more each year. We did not leave the ship – we have been to all the ports before and just enjoy being on the ship. It seemed more people stayed on this year; the ship was never too quiet, which was great. We understand that there was less than 4,000 guests on board and the ship never felt crowded. Very few children or teens, even less than we had seen in previous years, but quite a few babies. We did not use the spa, buy photos, see main theatre shows, step foot in Bliss, use the pools, slides or hot-tubs, play bingo or any games, see any comedy shows or the circus show, climb any walls, go into the ice-bar, use the casino or video arcade. I hate cigarette smoke in real life but was not overly bothered by it on the ship. We only walked through the casino once in port when it was closed and cut through it a couple of times at night going down the stairs from 7 to 5. We came on the cruise to relax, to escape real life for a week and it could not have been more perfect. We ate, drank, read, dozed, wandered about the ship and people watched during the day. Ate, drank, watched the entertainment and chatted with folk in the evenings. Food Food is probably the most important thing for me on a cruise and it was generally wonderful. I cook from scratch 95% of the time at home so just getting food made for me is a joy. I am a complete pain on any other type of holiday, there is always a better restaurant just round the corner, and it rightly drives my friends nuts. I love being able to try anything I fancy on the cruise and not worry if it isn’t to my taste, there is always something else to eat. There are very few things I don’t like to eat but I can be picky about quality. There are lots of foods my friend doesn’t like but we both were very happy with the food on the ship, both the quality and the variety. We aren’t fans of the MDRs, we did 4 specialty and ate in the buffet 3 nights. We like to graze on the days we don’t have a formal dinner. More people ate in the buffet in the evenings than on previous trips. We always got a nice, quiet table at the very front with great views. I enjoy the fresh pasta station, think the pizza is fine and love the coleslaw. I’m not much of a pudding person, some desserts were fine but the soft ice cream was always good. The benefit of not having full dinner every night was having late night wings at O’Sheehan's. I love how safe the ship feels and how I can happily walk about at 2 in the morning. Breakfast were mainly in O’Sheehan's, never crowded and with one exception my omelettes and hash browns were hot and fresh. Then a small second breakfast in the great outdoors (I can’t resist a couple more hash browns) with a bloody mary. Le Bistro remains our favourite, food was fantastic both times, service a little warmer the second time. The lamb was especially good, cooked perfectly medium rare. Can never order anything other than the crème brûlée for pudding. Cagney’s was a little disappointing but I was partly to blame; I ate too much at lunchtime and wasn’t really hungry enough. But the prawns were tiny, the Caesar salad limp, my lobster a little tasteless, my steak was a perfect medium rare but cold. My friend was disappointed that her favourite pork appetiser had gone and alarmed that her pork main was pink in the centre despite asking for it well done. Cheesecake was tasteless, preferred the one in O’Sheehan's. We have always enjoyed Cagney’s in the past. Sushi was good. 4 items more than enough. Reasonable value using a dining credit. I particularly enjoyed the surf and turf. Chefs were great, server was a bit meh. I felt really rushed even though it wasn’t especially busy – he brought me the check while I was still eating, and it wasn’t even my check or room card. Entertainment We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment. We love live music and the music on the ship this year was by far the best we have experienced. The Beatles were great of course and we loved Let’s Groove doing Abba in the theatre. Sean the singer and piano player was wonderful; we loved his voice and how much he interacted with the audience. He played a wide variety of songs and took requests. We enjoyed Howl at the Moon so much we were there at 1am on the final night when we had to be up before 6am, it was worth the tiredness! Drinks We made full use of the drinks package and never had a problem getting a drink. In fact, we had the opposite problem, there were a couple of particularly wonderful servers in Maltings and Shakers who made sure we were never without a drink. I cannot say enough about how good they were. Even at the pool on a sea day I never waited more than a couple of minutes for a drink. Spice was never busy, we enjoyed spending time there and again never had to wait for a drink. The small buffet on sea days is great too. Water and coffee We booked under the old UK all-inclusive rules so got water, wifi and coffee. Complete waste of money for us, we used a couple of bottles of water but not the wifi and coffee. We are glad they have moved to free at sea. I’m fussy about coffee, it has to be black, usually South American beans and very strong. I can’t drink the Lavazza coffee on board, the espresso is so bitter. I was pleasantly surprised by the free coffee on board, reasonably strong with a good flavour. I did hear one American complaining he had to add 3 sugars and 4 creamers to make it drinkable but it for fine for me for a week. Weather Weather was fantastic, a little rain one morning, calm and warm the rest of the week. I enjoyed reading and dozing on the balcony every afternoon. Other We never felt any pressure to buy anything – there were desks set up for all the usual stuff but we never got more than a smile and hello from the staff. We did not spend a cent on board except for cruise next certificates. Passengers were from all corners of the world, there seemed to be less Americans and English than we remember from previous years; we enjoyed talking to lots of Canadians and Irish folk. The staff were almost universally brilliant. There were a couple of slightly grumpy bar tenders but generally everyone could not do enough for us, were friendly, cheerful and went out of their way to make us feel special. The ship was very clean and well maintained, a few of the public washrooms were perhaps not quite as spotless as in previous years, not dirty, just not as gleaming as in the past. I dislike the chairs in the atrium, far too deep, take up far too much space and my wee legs don’t reach the ground. Elevators never took too long to come and were rarely too crowded. We had a couple of very minor niggles and did put a note in the GM’s mailbox (having been encouraged to do so when he was on stage before the Beatles show on the first night) and were over-whelmed by how promptly and professionally they were dealt with. We filled in a good number of cruise hero cards. Getting off Getting off was sadly too easy; we had problems getting an elevator in past years but walked onto an empty one straight away this time and were in a taxi within 30 minutes of leaving the cabin. Uneventful but long trip home – takes about 16 hours gangway to front door with only 3 hours of that in the air. Final thoughts We had a fantastic time, it is lovely to escape from reality for a week and get some sun before a long, cold Irish winter. We were completely spoiled by the food, drink and staff. Only 351 days until we are back on the Epic … Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Available dates for the cruise met our needs. We preferred to embark and disembark from the same port. Our room had a great location. Dining options were excellent. We had an excellent housekeeper who made sure our room was always clean ... Read More
Available dates for the cruise met our needs. We preferred to embark and disembark from the same port. Our room had a great location. Dining options were excellent. We had an excellent housekeeper who made sure our room was always clean and she always checked to make sure we had all we need during our stay. The ship was huge, lots of places to checkout, plenty of room to roam. Plenty of activities and entertainment to keep us occupied. Ports were great choices. Excursions we took were convenient to book. Tour guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. It was great to have the convenience of a shuttle from the airport. Embarkation process was simple and very efficient. Disembarkation went without a hitch. Taxis were available as soon as we left the ship. Our luggage was already waiting for us as we left the ship. We will definitely cruise on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by ... Read More
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by mentioning the positive points about the ship that made my trip enjoyable. The ship is clean, well maintained and the decor is sublime. Very hard working crew. Also, very friendly when they’re allowed to be. Some great entertainment. Friendly/fun atmosphere with guests of all ages (mostly Americans) Freedom with dining times and tables in the restaurants. If you’re a solo traveller, you will love the private solo lounge and the studio, as well as the solo gathering (meet-up). I got to meet some amazing people! Now, the negative points that will definitely stop me from booking another cruise with Norwegian: If you’re a foodie person like myself and enjoy fine dining, the Epic is not for you. The complimentary dinner restaurants like the Manhattan and Taste serve similar dishes and the menu is the same every day with only one or two changes if you’re lucky. The dishes are extremely poor quality/presentation - it’s basically similar to what you would get served in a Wetherspoons. I found that a lot of the food was too salty to eat. You’ll also notice that some dishes have lost their original flavour due to being defrosted and not prepared fresh. The buffet in the evening has better quality and variety but stays the same for the most part. You might be impressed the first and second day but after that you’ll be bored of eating the same thing over and over again. The drinks package is not worth it unless you just want to get drunk and don’t care about the options or quality of what you’re drinking. The wine, cocktails, soft drinks are all the cheap, non-branded stuff. If you want good wine you’ll have to pay extra. A fresh squeezed orange juice or even bottle of water costs extra too, which I thought was a joke. The crew seem to be under a lot of stress and sometimes it’s like they can’t breathe. I’m quite friendly and love chatting to people who work on board even for just a few seconds. I’m aware they have plenty to do but it just shows some appreciation and it can help to break up their day by even asking them how are they. The problem is they don’t seem to be allowed to make small talk with guests! I noticed crew members seemingly looking distracted a few times and it turned out that they were looking around in case their manager caught them talking to me. It really put me off that the crew are treated very poorly, especially compared with staff members who are separate and do seem to have a bit more freedom. It actually upset me when I asked a couple of staff members why they couldn’t talk and the suggestion was they were working under military rules and could get fired any minute. No wonder they hire a lot of people from developing countries! Managers on the cruise lied to me! I wanted to stay an extra 4 days on board as I had a swollen ankle and didn’t want to travel on it. I was given a price which I was happy with but then told the next day that no rooms were available. I tried to say that I didn’t mind which room I stayed in and that I’d be happy to pay extra money but the answer was still a no. Imagine my surprise then, when I saw on the website that rooms were available! I was truly disappointed and felt like I was chasing them to take my money. In the end, despite knowing I could actually book through their website and stay I decided to keep my money and endure the pain of a 5-6 hour journey home with my ankle still swollen. For me, those are the main points, although some more would be: Poor medical centre service when my ankle got swollen. The Internet doesn’t work at all so don’t even bother buying it. A lot of extreme loud alarms go off every single morning! Toilets not flushing seemed to be a common problem. If you order room service, bear in mind you’ll have to wait 1 hour even if it’s just for a bottle of water. The entertainment is good but was very repetitive. Entertainment at the atrium and pool was poor. Tiny, shallow swimming pools. The lady who works at the second Manhattan restaurant desk and looks for an available table for you was truly unhelpful and cheeky. Overall, if it wasn’t for the hard-working crew and some amazing people on board I would’ve definitely had the worst time ever. Basically, once they have your money, they don’t care if you’re coming back or not, or if you’re happy or unhappy. So if you’re young, don’t care about fine dining and just want to party, this cruise might be for you. However, if you’re a foodie person and love variety in your meals, good wine, a good chat with people (even those who who work onboard) and enjoy different shows/music, this cruise is definitely a no. Day 1 on the Epic: This is amazing!! I’m booking my second cruise the second I get home. Last day: Never gonna be back! Back home: Booked 2 cruises for next year….with P&O! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
1. Nickel And Dimed: I felt like everything was extra money after I paid for my cruise. - The app to message people around the ship was $10. - Most of the restaurants you had to pay for ($40-$50/person) - The best entertainment ... Read More
1. Nickel And Dimed: I felt like everything was extra money after I paid for my cruise. - The app to message people around the ship was $10. - Most of the restaurants you had to pay for ($40-$50/person) - The best entertainment you had to pay for. - All drinks except water you had to pay for. (other ships I have sailed with let you get a soda or lemonade or something similar with your dinner.) 2. Daily Disembarking - it was difficult to know what time we could begin disembarking each day. We knew when we arrived at the port, but not when we could disembark. And each day it was in a different location on the ship. It would have been helpful to have listed that on the daily newsletter, in the app, and with signs throughout the ship. 3. Laundry - I really wish they had washing machines we could use on the ship! That is a big deal for me when I choose who to sail with. I did find out that we could do a bulk laundry service near the end of our time on board (which I was NOT able to learn through ANY of the NCL information, I learned about it through Cruise Critic). I did use the service while sailing, and it was a good service. We sailed Wednesday to Wednesday. We had to put the laundry out by Friday morning and it was returned Sunday/Monday (2 of our cabins received it Monday, 3 of our cabins received it on Monday.) The bulk service is a discount from their high prices - everything you can fit in the bag for $20. The bag is just smaller than a regular pillowcase, but it is a flat paper bag. I used a suggestion I found on Cruise critic, where I brought with me a large garbage sack, put all of my clothes in it and then slid the plastic bag into the paper bag. It helped because I was able to close the garbage sack with the draw string and then I didn't have to close the paper bag. It was slick! The laundry came back folded in a small basket waiting for us in our room. 4. The App was NOT worth the $10! All it did was allow us to text one another. They didn't use it to push information to us! This app could have let us know about disembarking times and locations, when we need to be back on the ship, it could have showed me my excursion details and my dinner reservation locations and times. But it didn't. It wasn't interactive at all. If you have a large group and need to communicate, then I guess it's worth paying for, but other than letting you text, there is a static map of the ship and that's about it. 5. Dining - MAKE RESERVATIONS EVEN FOR THE MAIN DINING ROOMS! The main dining rooms get really busy, so if you want to eat at a certain time, make sure you make reservations for your party well in advance, otherwise you will wait in a huge line for a table to open up! I really didn't like the "Free Style" dining. On other cruises with set dining times, the waiters got to know our table, our habits, our drinks, our favorite appetizers, etc.. and had things ready and waiting when we arrived. With Free Style cruising, each dining experience had different waiters, so we didn't get the personal attention I've received on ALL of my other cruises! Additionally, since we were a party of 9, had I not known that I needed reservations, dinner would have been a nightmare! 6. Stateroom Layouts. I stayed in 8149. We were lucky we had odd numbered state rooms because that side of the ship was able to view most of the port coast lines! My party stayed in cabins 8149, 8155, 8157, 8159, 8161. The layouts for 8149, 8157, and 8161 were all the same. The toilets were next to the bed and the couch was on the far side of the room next to the balcony. The walkway was so tight that two people couldn't pass the bed without one of them either getting onto the bed or walking to the other end of the room. The layouts for 8155 and 8159 had the bed at the far end of the room and the wider space to move up front in front of the couch and by the bathrooms. It's a MUCH better layout!! The bathrooms don't have a door. The toilet and shower area are frost covered glass enclosed on either side of the door into the cabin. So if someone knocks on the door and you answer it while someone is using the toilet or showering, then there isn't much privacy. This area is separated from the main living area by a curtain. The sink was in front of my bed, so when I used the facilities during the night, it woke up others sleeping in the room. I've stayed in interior cabins before with more room! This "suite" was smaller than other rooms I've stayed in! (minus the balcony of course.) 7. Embarkation and Disembarkation were SUPER smooth. It was one of the easiest I've done (I've sailed 7 times.) Overall the ship was nice, the staff was wonderful, and the food was terrific. But I think I'd rather not sail with NCL again. If I did, the price would have to be a steal to get me to go through the headaches again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We selected the Epic for our Mediterranean tour, starting in Rome (Civitavecchia). Experience on the ship was very satisfying. Many bars with singers/activities all day and night. Food on the Epic was very good with 2 separate but equal ... Read More
We selected the Epic for our Mediterranean tour, starting in Rome (Civitavecchia). Experience on the ship was very satisfying. Many bars with singers/activities all day and night. Food on the Epic was very good with 2 separate but equal dining rooms or the Garden Buffet, and many specialty restaurants (I did not try). I was glad that they opened the buffet until 11:30 PM for late snacks. The cruise director, Mandy, is charming and seemed to be everywhere. Entertainment, we saw the Epic Beatles (cover band), and Soul Satisfaction (Motown cover singers) for 3 performances each in a week (enough!). But they were very good and got folks up out of their seats dancing. Even old folks like me. There was a comedian/musician for 2 shows, and a Diva singer, but not really enough for the week. A Broadway scale production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert was delightful, and Burn The Floor dance show (just OK maybe overhyped?) and there was a Cirque show ($$$) that I didn't attend. The itinerary and ports of call were great. First day it rained but we were on our own in Livorno. We took the ship's bus to the Livorno train station, bought $22pp r/t tickets to Florence (1h 20m) but needed more time to enjoy it all. Rain didn't help. Next day was Cannes, which we did on our own with miles of local shopping, a mall, and the site of the Cannes film festival. Lovely hotels line the street. the next day was Mallorca and our port call was 3pm-7:30. So we arranged a ship excursion 'Magical Majorca and train to Soller. It was great, and my only beef was that merchants in Soller were on siesta when we arrived and the few that were open did all the business. The 50 min. ride back on the 100 y/o wooden train is super, with 12 tunnels and breathtaking views of the countryside from alongside the mountains. The next day we were in Barcelona and thought we had it all planned. But it was Sunday and La Ramble (shopping) had many stores closed. We bought tickets online for the hop-on hop-off bus (there are 2 online companies-different bus-similar routes) but there were citywide demonstrations for unity government and the buses stopped, as did most traffic. Boo! It happens. After a day at sea next was Naples (Pompeii). We chose the ship's tour Pompeii and enchanting Sorrento. It was wonderful. Great tour guide! We returned to Rome and disembarked flawlessly. We then spent 3 days on our own in Rome seeing everything. Must sees: The Vatican Museum-you can spend days or just hours and hours - it's only 3000 years of history and antiquities. Miles long. (If on your own, buy your tickets online!). #2 Must see - The Coliseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum. (Buy your tickets & Coliseum tour guide online!). My wife and I had a wonderful trip and only lamented the cabin setup somewhat on the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I felt the need to write a review after seeing so many negative ones prior to sailing. There were some negative experiences but overall it was a great trip and I would book with NCL again. Reduced Airfare - this was a great deal to fly ... Read More
I felt the need to write a review after seeing so many negative ones prior to sailing. There were some negative experiences but overall it was a great trip and I would book with NCL again. Reduced Airfare - this was a great deal to fly from Newark to Rome for only $400. Our biggest issue was they wouldn’t let us change our arrival or departure date so we were not able to spend time in Rome. We ended up getting a direct flight to Rome on United, and the return flight had a quick stop in Munich on Lufthansa. Our flight from Munich to Newark was booked for premium economy which we got bumped up to Business Class! Embarkation and disembarkation was very easy at Rome, I loved how they split the embarkation ports between Barcelona and Rome. Food Quality - this was our biggest disappointment compared to Royal Caribbean. The buffet was ok. Main dining rooms had little to chose from and didn’t change much night to night. We had 3 free premium dinners. Cagneys was amazing, Le Bistro was very good, and Teppanyaki was great. We also did dinner and the Cirque show which was very entertaining, but the food was not good. Overall service was very good. We were impressed with how often they came around for drink service at the pool and sun deck. O’Sheehans was always understaffed and took too long to get drinks. The Whiskey and Martini bars had great service. I’m always impressed how quickly everyone learns your name on cruises, especially with 4,000 guests. The cruise director Mandy had a great personality and seemed like she was everywhere entertaining the guests. We didn’t see much of the officers like you do on Royal, but that’s ok. We had a balcony room and our room steward was very good. The bathroom setup was weird, but it didn’t bother us. You do have a curtain so that provided enough privacy. The room itself seemed small but the balcony was very nice. We booked two tours through Italytours.eu after seeing so many positive reviews from prior trips. They were much cheaper than going through NCL and very good. We did Pisa and Florence tour which was great, the driver was very good and the Florence tour guide gave good recommendations for lunch. In Naples we did Pompeii and Almafi Coast. This was our favorite stop on the trip. Sorrento was a fun stop, the best pizza I’ve ever had. The views of Positano were breathtaking, I would love to spend a week there. Our driver was great and the tour guide was fantastic. All the other stops we just did free style. Cannes was easy to walk around, Palma and Barcelona had plenty of transportation to take you where you want to go. Overall NCL isn’t perfect, but it was a great trip and the positives far outweighed the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I wanted to visit Italy so Cannes and Mallorca were a wonderful bonus. I can’t help comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean and I have to say Royal is still my favourite line. Some of the staff on Norwegian seemed ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to visit Italy so Cannes and Mallorca were a wonderful bonus. I can’t help comparing Norwegian to Royal Caribbean and I have to say Royal is still my favourite line. Some of the staff on Norwegian seemed overworked and unhappy. Some were not versed in the ship layout at all. For instance the man in the gift shop had never heard of the cigar lounge behind the bar right across from his store. We bought the premium beverage pkg but it depended on who you talked to as to what that included. It said that we got coffee and water but only some of the staff would actually give us that. Overall some attention to their training is in order. Most of the limited number of pools were for kids. The adult pool at the front of the shop was tiny and overcrowded with 10 adults. My least favourite thing was this: the way the Haven guests were handled. Haven is the luxury part of the boat. Each of those guests gets priority and skip the lines. However, imagine standing in line to tender to the mainland and it is finally your turn when 25 Haven guests suddenly cut straight in front of you. Awkward as we all stood waiting for the next launch! Royal NEVER did that to their guests. Priority folks were given priority but never in our faces like that. I never ever felt second-class or unimportant on Royal. I have always been treated like gold so this was really a slap in the face to have such an obvious hierarchy pushed in front of you. Literally. Royal finds a way to make their priority guest still receive that Royal treatment but not at the expense of their other customers. Surely another doorway could have been used so we were none the wiser and not made to feel that suddenly we didn’t matter. Shore excursions were good. Enjoyed them very much. I will say though that for the Hop On Hop Off bus Norwegian wanted $44 Euro each. By waiting til we got onshore and buying at the kiosk, we got the same ticket for $15 Euro each. Yikes guys. Glad someone tipped us off on that one. Overall it just felt like everything was an extra charge and service based on what amount you spent. We paid a lot for this trip and while we had a wonderful time, some of those special touches we were used to were definitely missing. Our next trip will be back with Royal Caribbean as we love that line and they love us back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I'm 65 years old and have never been to Europe. What better way to see it than on a cruise? This cruise is all about the ports, there is only one sea day and most of the port days are long. This was my first cruise on a mega ... Read More
I'm 65 years old and have never been to Europe. What better way to see it than on a cruise? This cruise is all about the ports, there is only one sea day and most of the port days are long. This was my first cruise on a mega ship, but it didn't really feel much different than the smaller ships. There are lines for some things, but never long. Embarkation went quickly and smoothly. We did have Latitudes priority boarding, which helped. This cruise is either round trip from Barcelona, or from Rome. Probably 20% of the passengers embark in Rome, so they're not all embarking at the same time in Barcelona. We had the specialty dining package as a free perk. Our first specialty restaurant was Tepannyaki, the Japanese restaurant where the food preparation is a show. Six seats are around the cook top, and it's very entertaining. If you can't decide what entrée to get, just pick one. The cook makes extra, and will share. Second was the Cirque Dreams dinner show. This show was the highlight of the cruise, and worth the extra price. The entrée at dinner was a steak in peppercorn sauce. My wife didn't like the sauce, I thought it was great. The steak was very tender. The third was Cagney's steakhouse. Very elegant, great food and service. The specialty of the house for dessert was the raspberry crème brulet. You won't be disappointed. As good as the specialty restaurants were, I wouldn't go to them without the dining package, especially as a free perk. The bill at Cagney's, dinner alone without drinks, was $190, but covered by the dining package. The main dining rooms are very good, and if you don't do any of the specialty dining, you'll still have a great time. Breakfast was served at O'Sheehan's, Taste, and the buffet. O'Sheehan's was good, the selection was more limited, Taste is one of the main dining rooms, and the best place for breakfast if you're not pressed for time. Don't miss the pound cake French toast. The buffet was quite good, good variety and quality. We did the buffet breakfast only when we had an early shore excursion, not because there was anything wrong with it, but because we could be served at other places. Orange juice at the buffet is out of a machine, if you want fresh squeezed, you pay for it, but can get it free at Taste. The two main dining rooms are Taste and Manhattan Room. I think they're the same menu, but Manhattan Room is a nicer room, and has live music, sometimes a show. the food was great. Always great service. I already mentioned the Cirque Dreams show, it's mostly covered by the dining package, and is a do not miss. We missed Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Burn the Floor was very entertaining. The casino was good to me. Blackjack can be had for $10 minimum with poor rules, but can be had with good rules for $15. Craps is $10 minimum, 3-4-5x odds. Roulette is $2 chips, I don't recall the minimum bet. Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold 'em are offered with $5 minimums. Judging by the pay tables on the video poker, the slots are probably pretty tight. This is the fourth Norwegian cruise I've been on, and service has always been consistently good. When in port, be sure to have some Euros with you, even if you're paying with credit cards. Restrooms charge half to one Euro, and they don't accept American dollars. If you buy something in a restaurant, bar, or other business with a restroom, you can use their restroom for free. Barcelona-We spent four nights after the cruise, beautiful city. The two main attractions are La Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum. For either of them, buy tickets ahead of time, they are timed, and they will be less crowded in the morning. A good and inexpensive meal can be had at the tapas bars that are all over, about 15-20 euros for a couple. Naples-We took an excursion to Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, not an NCL excursion. Amalfi Coast was stunningly beautiful. I've been fascinated by Pompeii since learning about it in fourth grade, so this excursion was quite memorable. Rome-Don't let the long time in port fool you. If you have an excursion, it will probably leave an hour after arriving in port. Then it's an hour and a half into Rome, maybe more depending on traffic, an hour and a half back, and you have to be back on board half an hour before sailing. That takes four and a half hours out of the day. We did the Rome on Your Own shore excursion. When we got our shore excursion tickets, there was a note saying to not book anything in Rome for before 11:00 am. A little late for that warning. We had tickets to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Made it there just in time. This cruise gets to Rome on Wednesday, which is the day the Pope gives a public address. This may be the reason Rome was so crowded, maybe it's always like that, just be prepared for crowds. The Vatican Museum was amazing, and Sistine Chapel was jaw dropping. After that, we had lunch, went to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps (right next to each other) and then it was time to return. Florence-If you didn't read what I wrote about Rome, go back and read the first part of it. The same applies to Florence. We took the Hop on-Hop Off bus tour in Florence. A bus takes you into Florence, then you catch the HO-HO bus. We had tickets for the Uffizi Gallery, and arrived half an hour after the assigned time (again, don't book anything before 11:00 am!) but they let us in without any trouble. Florence was the center of the Renaissance, and I'm sure the Uffizi is the largest and best collection of Renaissance art in the world. Well worth seeing. Again, we had lunch, saw the Duomo, then back to the ship without ever stepping on the HO-HO bus that we'd paid for. But it did get us into Florence, so it was worth it. My wife and I both agreed that Florence was the best part of the cruise. Cannes-Nice city, very upscale, many stores I can't afford to shop in, it's like Beverly Hills was moved to the beach. There is a tour called the Little Bus that loads near the dock, as I recall it was 12 Euros each. It took us up to a beautiful cathedral, which had great views of the city. Cannes is a beautiful city, but other than the cathedral, there wasn't much that caught my attention. Palma-By the time you get to Palma, you're probably still worn out from the Italian stops, but the ship doesn't dock until 1:00 pm, so you can sleep in. We took a hop on-hop off bus that took us up to a castle. Like Cannes, it's a beautiful city, but other than the castle, and maybe the cathedral which we didn't have time to go to, not much there. To sum it up, this cruise is all about the ports, and it is tiring. Well worth it, fun, interesting, beautiful, but tiring. It was worth it, I'm not complaining, just know what you're getting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because I wanted to have a Barcelona land and a Mediterranean cruise vacation. We arrived in Barcelona four days prior to cruise which began Sunday, October 20, 2019. We also stayed on in Barcelona an additional two ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to have a Barcelona land and a Mediterranean cruise vacation. We arrived in Barcelona four days prior to cruise which began Sunday, October 20, 2019. We also stayed on in Barcelona an additional two days after the cruise to do more sightseeing. Barcelona has wonderful sights to fill several days of sightseeing. Prior to the cruise we took a Viator guided small group tour to Montserrat Monastery with hike and cable car and saw the boys choir (mini-van central pickup location), a Headout (Amigo Tour) guided tour of Sagrada Familia (meeting point a little hard to find across from Sagrada Familia), a full day Viator tour by minivan (inoutbarcelonatour) with guide Arnau to Girona and the Dali Museum. We loved all these tours. Every guide was very knowledgeable about the places we were at. We learned so much about Gaudi at the Sagrada Familia Tour and all about Dali driving to Girona and Figures, Dali Museum. Arnau pointed out very interesting details at the Dali Museum. I was surprised how much my husband even liked this art museum. One thing I learned on this vacation is tour guides are a must to appreciate fully what you are viewing. As long as you are all the way there pay the extra money!! We did do Gaudi's Park Guell, LaPedrera and Casa Batllo after the cruise. All are a must see! Our cruise was truly enjoyable. This was my third Norwegian cruise and Epic is twice the size of the smaller 2,500 passenger ships I was on previously, most recently February 2019 on the Norwegian Sky to Cuba (before they stopped cruising there). The main difference I noticed is the larger Epic ship has far better and more entertainment options in the evening-Cirque (Soleil) Dreams, Priscilla Queen of the Desert Musical, Comedy and Magic, Stand up Comedy, Motown Group, Epic Beatles (great Beatles cover band) with Beatles costumes, Burn the Floor (fabulous dance) and more that I did not have time to see--Bruno Mars cover, etc. When you are getting up at 6:30 a.m. to get breakfast before meeting your 8:00 a.m. excursions you don't necessarily want to stay up to midnight every night to catch every show available. However on the night prior to a sea day and a late arrival to Palma de Mallorca we certainly did!! Some shows accept reservations so I recommend making them. The shows that did not take them you had no problem just walking in. One night we did 3 shows walking in. I never ate at the specialty restaurants. The food was great at the complimentary ones with the exception of the biscuits and gravy my husband ordered one day for breakfast in Taste. It was three link pork sausages sitting on a biscuit with a few tablespoons of gravy. Otherwise everything was top service and fantastic food. Better service than most restaurants I have been in. My main complaint of this cruise is most restaurants are located on floor six by the casino where you can smoke. I did not appreciate walking through the casino and smoke to reach the restaurants! My excursions I did were (NAPLES) Viator full day Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Pompeii (small bus of maybe 20 people, easy pick up at port) guide gave us lots of info on bus ride and throughout Great tour. Not as much time to shop in Sorrento as I would have liked but no fault of tour, we had a lot ground to cover. (ROME) Best of Rome and Vatican (www.ItalyTours.EU) Eight person minivan with six of us and the guide/driver. This was the best bargain of the trip, two guides included, one for Rome driving and one for Vatican Museum. Something similar by NCL was 3 times the money. Met at port with a sign with our last names. Travel on the narrow streets of Rome in a minivan is the way to go. We were able to park right across the street from Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and given some time there on our own. Believe me, if you were in a bus you would be walking a long distance to see the sights because a bus would not get anywhere near them. Going in the Colosseum was optional on this tour and of the 6 in van just my husband and I were doing it. Our guide walked right up to the ticket taker and got us in (I pre-bought pick up at window tickets, shortest line there is). The Vatican Museum as mentioned was a different guide- again no line time, followed the guide in, learned a tremendous amount from her. My favorite tour of this vacation. The remaining port tours I booked through NCL. They included (FLORENCE) NCL Pisa and Florence on Your Own (great guide to cities only but very long walk from bus parking lot in both Pisa and Florence the one day in 2 weeks it rained), CANNES (first off ship with tenders because NCL excursion!) Eze and Monaco. Eze was absolutely gorgeous medieval city. Monaco-- loved seeing beautiful Church Grace Kelly was married and buried in, changing of guard at castle. (PALMA de MALLORCA) NCL Palma in Depth (large bus) some walk to get from bus parking again. Great guide, but not as much to see as at other ports other than inside and out of Cathedral and town. Overall I loved this cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze, 5 minutes each port at most. Play shuffleboard-- it was fun and nobody was there. I will also post a picture on my cabin because it is an enclosed cabin and I was really curious what it would look like so I am guessing others would too. My only complaint is with telephone booking of Epic cruise. I declined travel insurance and after I paid in full saw they had it on invoice. My own fault for not noticing. Three months prior to cruise I called and told them of error. They said they see I initially declined insurance but I had other calls (questions about excursions) and had no proof I did not add insurance later so NCL refused to take the $198 travel insurance total ($99 a person off) in July 2019 for a October 20th cruise. Considering I brought 4 family members, (3 cabins booked) to join my husband and me on a February 2019 NCL Norwegian Sky cruise I was quite insulted. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise as our 30th anniversary celebration. We had never been to Europe & this was a great opportunity to see a few countries at once. Everything was very organized. Every staff member was very helpful, knowledgable & ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our 30th anniversary celebration. We had never been to Europe & this was a great opportunity to see a few countries at once. Everything was very organized. Every staff member was very helpful, knowledgable & friendly. Food was delicious. We took advantage of the specialty restaurants, which was great to have a bit more quiet, romantic time. We particularly enjoyed The Bistro restaurant. My husband was very impressed with his steak dinners! Cooked with perfection. Drinks were made perfectly. Excursions were amazing! Even the weather co operated! only one rainy day which was fine for exploring the boat as there was so much to see & do on it! Enjoyed the Beatles tribute. Loved the musical Priscilla of the desert! Costumes were incredible! The excursions had a wide variety of options of places to see & things to do. Truly a trip of a lifetime! We definitely will consider another cruise in the near future! Highly recommend this ship & this company! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first cruise ever. We paid for virtually every extra offered. We were never introduced or otherwise acquainted with our cabin service team. I was never able to get coffee from room service before 6:30am save for one time when ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever. We paid for virtually every extra offered. We were never introduced or otherwise acquainted with our cabin service team. I was never able to get coffee from room service before 6:30am save for one time when I pleaded that it was just a large pot of coffee. There is coffee in the room but it’s those small single-use machines that aren’t helpful for anyone needing more than a cup or two. We did use the ship’s laundry service for some shirts, jeans and undies, but to pay €185.00 was astonishingly shocking. The bed was short even for my 5’10” frame. My feet hung over the end. The room was worn. It was was evident in the frayed mirror and other finishings. This being our first cruise ever, we expected something significantly better than what we experienced. We’d heard NCL was mid-level, but their marketing and hype was far short of reality, and for virtually every extra we purchased, we surely didn’t get what we’d paid dearly for. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My wife and I just completed an Eastern Med Cruise on the Norwegian Epic. We have done a number of NCL cruises, and this was our first on the Epic. The food in the Garden Cafe was good and we ate all of our on board meals there. ... Read More
My wife and I just completed an Eastern Med Cruise on the Norwegian Epic. We have done a number of NCL cruises, and this was our first on the Epic. The food in the Garden Cafe was good and we ate all of our on board meals there. Gluten free options were not marked and we found no gluten free desserts or breads. A posted sign indicated that you need to request gluten free bread, but all there was only gluten free sandwich bread. There was a good selection of vegetarian options, and the salad bar was much better than we have seen on other NCL ships, but there is still room for improvement. We found the layout of the ship a little different than our previous cruises, with the Garden Cafe forward instead of aft, the fitness rooms aft instead of forward. The cruise was also different in that with two embarkation ports, and no complete turnover of the passengers, some of the normal process of embarking and disembarking were changed. There was no general announcements of which group was departing, so you need to be more aware of when you needed to depart. Because of trouble in Barcelona, all excursions were cancelled. The other excursions were a mixed bag. At Livorno, we took the Florence and Pisa on your own tour and had a great time. In Cannes, we did the walking tour and found it worthwhile. At Palma, we were disappointed with the bus tour that spent half of the time at a artificial pearl factory and little else. In Naples, we went on the Pompeii Excavations and really enjoyed the experience. Entertainment was very good, and we enjoyed the two comics who were very funny. Howl at the Moon was a good show and the musicians were very talented and entertaining. The usual audience participation shows (Newlywed game and Pyramid) were well done. The in-room channels were limited as the only sports was limited to Soccer and the only english language news was the BBC. We were concerned before our trip that we might have difficulties getting back to the airport to return home since we were informed by NCL that we could not pre-book a transfer to the airport because our departure was within 3 hour of arrival in Rome. However, once we were on board, we were able to book a transfer. All in all, we had a good cruise and enjoyed the trip. I would recommend it as a enjoyable budget cruise for someone who wants to see three fascinating countries (Italy, France and Spain) in a single trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are ... Read More
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are really late they will pay to get you to the next port. So it seemed reasonable to book it all through them. Early on we saw that we had a connecting flight in London so I called our agent and asked if we could stay a few days in London. Her response was that flights are subject to change up until 50 days out. At 50 days out I called back and told her it still says we are connecting in London can we arrange for a few days there? Then she tells me no, we can only book extra days in your port of call. Ok, well let’s book a few extra days in Barcelona. Oh, sorry you waited too late and your flights are already booked so we can no longer change them, you would have needed to make changes before 50 days out. ??!! Very disappointing. So finally our cruise of a lifetime arrives and we get to the airport and our first flight is late, which makes us get to our next connecting flight late, which made us miss our connecting flight. We called Norwegian to let them know and they were no help and not reassuring at all. They told us that they are unable to help with flights. We had four in our group and we were put on standby for the next flight out. Only two of us got on that flight, which was also late. Our friends were put on the next flight out, which put them landing in Barcelona at about 5:00PM an hour past the time they want you to be checked in. When we landed in Barcelona we took the Norwegian transport directly to the port and had no time to see Barcelona. Our friends did not make it to the ship until about 6:00pm. At no point did any Norwegian employee try to reassure us that everything would work out, no customer service at all. We made it though, finally on our cruise! The Epic. Our state room was nice we had a balcony, view was amazing. We had the drink package, which I highly recommend. We also had three nights of specialty dinning. Truthfully those were the only nights that I was impressed with the food. We loved Cagney’s and Moderno, which we ate at twice. The main dining rooms were ok. O’Sheehans was pretty good. The wings were great. The Beatles were amazing! Motown was also very good. Clarissa, our assistant cruise director was very sweet and informative. Freddie, the bar tender at Maltings Whiskey bar was great! Best place to go for drinks! As far as cleanliness goes the ship was clean. We all had an amazing time at all the ports. We did our own excursions and had a blast. Our favorite was the Amalfi coast. The views were breathtaking and the food was incredible. If I could change anything about the ports I would not have done tours. They were too long and there is not enough time in the day to see it all if you take guided tours. Our disembarkation time was at 6:15AM and our flights were scheduled to leave at 10:15AM so again we didn’t get to see Barcelona. Flights home were much smoother and timely. As a side note British Airways was much cleaner than Lufthansa. We had a great time on our cruise but I don’t know if I will sail with Norwegian again. The lack of customer service will have me looking at other cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Overall not a bad experience I would recommend it and considering doing it again.. I do think for two beverage packages more variety of drinks should be added for those that are not alcohol consumers.or the price should be lower.. I was ... Read More
Overall not a bad experience I would recommend it and considering doing it again.. I do think for two beverage packages more variety of drinks should be added for those that are not alcohol consumers.or the price should be lower.. I was given $50 credit towards port excretions I was only able to use one and was told if I did not use it I lose it.. I think that the unused excretion credit shoul be used otherwise. The WiFi packages were ridiculously priced. There could be more vegetarian choices. I was happy that I was able to get on the ship as soon as I got to the port. They took our luggage and they were delivered to our room in a timely manner. I have been drinking alkaline water for the past year and hoped I coul gave had alkaline water on the ship that was not so costly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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