307 Rome (Civitavecchia) Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise for the timing and itinerary. We doubted our choice because of the size of the ship. While we still prefer the 2500 passenger size we didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by the size. We did however hate the ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the timing and itinerary. We doubted our choice because of the size of the ship. While we still prefer the 2500 passenger size we didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by the size. We did however hate the bed...my husband is 6’2 and his feet stuck over the edge of the curvy design so he ended up sleeping down the middle...not so great! We also really missed the promenade deck. We still love NCL and will stick with them, but probably not on the Epic again...but only for those two reasons. We loved the entertainment! We used our three specialty dining reservations at the spiegel circus tent. Contrary to past reviews the food was very good and the entertainers took our breath away. Amazingly talented! We also went to Cagneys and Le Bistro...both of which were very good and didn’t disappoint. The shows were very good and we especially enjoyed Priscilla. But our favourite venue was the howl at the moon piano bar. We usually go to bed pretty early but we closed them down three nights at 1:00 a.m.! We just couldn’t leave in case we missed another great song! We did on your own shore excursions to Florence and Pisa, Monaco and Monte Carlo and Pompeii....if you go to Pompeii make sure to get a map or you will easily get lost in the myriad of streets and if possible a guidebook before you go. The rest of the ports we walked off the ship and wither just walked or did the hop on hop off bus tours. We sailed out of Rome and were lucky to have four days there before we sailed out of Civitavecchia to really be able to take in all of the sites and see most of everything that amazing city has to offer. All in all...we had a great cruise....but where are the towel animals...none to be seen Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise line because it was going to the ports 8n Italy, France, and Spain that we wanted to see. Not the best cruise I have ever been on. Embarkation went wonderful. Actually got dropped off at the port and was on the ship and ... Read More
I chose this cruise line because it was going to the ports 8n Italy, France, and Spain that we wanted to see. Not the best cruise I have ever been on. Embarkation went wonderful. Actually got dropped off at the port and was on the ship and had my luggage in my room all in less than a half hour. All kind of went down hill after that. Housekeepers were rude all the time. I never even met mine until the third day of the cruise. I asked two times for the light in the bathroom to be replaced because it kept blinking all the time, but never was changed. Not enough staff for the amount of passengers on the ship. Had to wait for everything all the time. Had to meet twice in the Epic Theater to disembark for excursions and the staff were all so rude and treated us as if we were children. Food was just ok. Cabin rugs need to be replaced as they are old and worn. Had footprint marks on couch. Had to keep my balcony door closed as people were smoking on theirs and the smell was coming into our cabin. Did call the gust service to see if they could do something about the smoke, but nothing was done about it. Will most likely not choose Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise. My, now, Husband and I thought it would be a great trip for our honeymoon as a first time experience and to see the world. We had a wonderful experience. The cruise was great, the staff was friendly and the food ... Read More
This was our first cruise. My, now, Husband and I thought it would be a great trip for our honeymoon as a first time experience and to see the world. We had a wonderful experience. The cruise was great, the staff was friendly and the food was super good! We planned excursions at each port with Norwegian and we are so glad we did. The excursions were set up so nicely and we felt we got to see all the important things at each place. Being first time cruisers, we were never sure how anything really went, but Norwegian was so structured and organized for everything they did, it made us never stressed and always knew we were headed the right direction or doing the right thing. Food is very important to me, and I was very please with all the food choices that were give on Norwegian Epic. We had some truly amazing staff members from our cabin steward to some servers in different restaurants and that made the trip more special. Norwegian even left us a special card with a free dessert in any of the restaurants to celebrate our honeymoon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first Norwegian cruise. We ended up staying in the Haven in a 2-bedroom family villa was fantastic! The service in the Haven was spectacular from the time we boarded until the time we got off the ship. Our butler, concierge, ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise. We ended up staying in the Haven in a 2-bedroom family villa was fantastic! The service in the Haven was spectacular from the time we boarded until the time we got off the ship. Our butler, concierge, stweard, bartenders, and waiters were all fantastic. Unfortunately, the service on the rest of the ship left room for improvement. It made us not want to venture out of the Haven and it would make me think twice about booking a Norwegian cruise. Carnival's customer service was far better than that of Norwegian's in the main areas of the ship (pool deck, bars, restaurants, and dining rooms). We went to O'Sheehan's for a casual lunch prior to disembarking for our Palma excursion and it took 1 hour to get our food. No apologies and no follow through. We also ate in the main dining room a few times because we wanted something different from the Haven's set menu and the service was sub par. For the price you pay for an NCL cruise, the customer service could definitely be better. Part of me gets the impression that NCL doesn't really care about customer service as much as Carnival. After every Carnival cruise, we've received a survey to fill out about our experience. We haven't received anything from NCL so perhaps they don't want to improve upon their deficits... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. We have taken approximately 15 cruises over the last several years. The food, service, cabin staff were all very good. The ports and excursions were all very enjoyable. We were not big fans of ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. We have taken approximately 15 cruises over the last several years. The food, service, cabin staff were all very good. The ports and excursions were all very enjoyable. We were not big fans of free style dining. We were very disappointed in the activities on the cruise ship itself. The shows were very good, but the repition of shows (like The Epic Beatles) was a bit of a disappointment. The first show was excellent, but was its necessary to have two more shows of the Epic Beatles. We were hoping for more shows in the main Epic Lounge. On other cruises there was a different show each night. There were not enough activities on the ship during the days while we were all onboard cruising. There were not enough games - trivia for example. We found ourselves with a lot of free time to do nothing. The activities that they did have cost $$$ - bingo, art gallery, etc. Any of the good activities that we were interested in were during dinner time. Pools were small, which was a surprise. We never saw the rock climbing wall open, nor the water slide. We had the drink package and were charged $5.17 and $10.35 to use the wine sample station. We tried to have that charge reversed, but were told it was not part of the drink package. In our stateroom. the water was so hot in the sink, that we had to take a bottle of water from the refrigerator to rinse our mouths when brushing our teeth. We were charged $6.50 for using that water from the mini-bar. The water was $5 for the bottle, but we were also charged a stocking fee. These charges should have been reversed, but we were basically told that can't be done. There was a Jewish Service, but no Christian Service on Sunday. On other cruises, we have had an opportunity for this. The bathroom in our stateroom was very strange. The bathtub was on one side of the hallway and the toilet and sink were on the other side. There was very little privacy. We were very surprised with this set up. We were not very impressed with the gift shops either. Usually we find plenty of great things to purchase, but not so on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also because it was a good deal with the drink package included. Getting on and off the boat was very quick and seamless. That part seemed very organized. Even the tender in Cannes was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also because it was a good deal with the drink package included. Getting on and off the boat was very quick and seamless. That part seemed very organized. Even the tender in Cannes was not all that bad. But we didnt have any tours for the day, so it didnt matter when we got off the ship. Overall it was ok. Our room was old looking but clean. We did not enjoy the shows, but the house band and the piano duos were amazing. The food was ok. The noodle bar was the best place to eat. We used Italy Tours EU. They were really good. Much cheaper than the boat shore excursions. An the guides and drivers were awesome. We found the staff at the customer service to be short. Not quite rude, but close. We were also disappointed in the pool area. Only two pools and they were very big. We mostly spent our time in the hot tubs as they werent overally hot and we could bring a drink with us. No drinks were allowed in the pool are. The drink package was very good. The drinks were well made and very enjoyable. We mostly cruise with Royal and did see a difference in level of facilities and service. But we were mostly looking forward to the sights, so the boat was secondary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Sailed Sept 4-11, 2019 Norwegian Epic. Firstly, this was only our 2nd cruise. The first was on the Celebrity Silhouette. If it wasn't for that cruise, we would think that Norwegian was pretty good. But Celebrity blows Norwegian ... Read More
Sailed Sept 4-11, 2019 Norwegian Epic. Firstly, this was only our 2nd cruise. The first was on the Celebrity Silhouette. If it wasn't for that cruise, we would think that Norwegian was pretty good. But Celebrity blows Norwegian out of the water! There were SO MANY stupid little annoying things on Norwegian that added up. When you are on vacation, you don't want to be irritated by things like the following: -We booked a balcony room thru Norwegian. They didn't allow us to pick our room, nor have a say on where it was located. They only way to do this is to $$$ Upgrade (of course). -As soon as we booked the trip, Norwegian immediately started sending "upgrade now" emails. So I guess whatever you get isn't good enough. -Most (but not all) of the employees on the ship didn't seem very happy...just going thru the motions. Chris (our room steward) was the only one on NCL that was enjoyable to chat with. This was a stark contrast to Celebrity, where it was fun to talk to the crew. -Very Impersonal: one thing about Celebrity that is awesome is that you have a specified mealtime and table every night (although you aren't obligated to be there). You get the same two waiters every night, and they were so great and fun to be around. You also get to know your fellow cruisers, since everyone sits in the same spot. This made our dinnertime something to look forward to and a great part of the entire experience. NCL is not like that at all. While the food is great and the wait staff provides great service, it's more like going to a random restaurant to eat. -They tell you you need to make a reservation for a specialty restaurant. This can be done on your TV or the touchscreen outside of the elevator. But then when you do that, it says nothing is available. Then we went to the restaurant anyway, only to get hassled by the gal at the podium because we didn't have one. You would think it's because the restaurant was completely booked, but it wasn't. There were tons of empty seats when we got there, and plenty when we were done. -Shows: every night there is a great show in the Epic Theater. But for one of the shows, "reservations" were required. This was similar to the restaurant fiasco above. This time, both shows were shown to be "sold out." Bummer, right? But if you get there 10 minutes early, you can get on the "standby list", which we did. But then they let us right in?! It turns out the show was NOT sold out after all. There were about 100 extra seats (maybe 20% of the theater was empty). Why would NCL do this? Do they not want people to see the shows? Are they just trying to annoy their paying customers? Well they did! -Repeating of shows: for the 7 days cruise, the 5 shows were all pretty great. But the last 2 days had the first 2 shows repeating themselves already! Did they run out of performers? It was like groundhog day. -The "cruise director" Mandy seems pretty fake. Not sincere. She says nearly the same thing every time she makes an announcement or talks on the mic...like a broken record. -Embarkation: there was always a long line to get back on the ship. They are very inefficient with the security screening. Part of it was lack of enough x-ray machines, part was employees not caring about a speedy boarding process (standing around talking to each other). I would surely not cruise Norwegian again. We felt like a number, not a customer. There are surely better cruise ship companies out there who would make sure the little things don't get in the way of a great vacation! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We celebrated are 30th anniversary by cruising this ship. We have cruised 4 times previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival all in the Caribbean. This is our first time on a ship of this size. We chose our itinerary first, ... Read More
We celebrated are 30th anniversary by cruising this ship. We have cruised 4 times previously on Royal Caribbean and Carnival all in the Caribbean. This is our first time on a ship of this size. We chose our itinerary first, Mediterranean, and then picked from the available cruise lines. This ship had the best stops in our opinion. Livorno/florence, Cannes, Majorca, Barcelona, Naples and one day at sea. I was pleasantly surprised that given the amount of cruisers it never felt crowded even though i was told ship was at 90% capacity. the uniqueness of this particular itinerary is that the ship on boards people in 2 different ports. some people get on in Barcelona and sail Sunday to Sunday, we got on in Civitavecchia/Rome and sailed Wed to Wed. I was told that of the 4000+ passengers 2/3 get on in Barcelona 1/3 in Rome. that being said check in in Rome could not have been easier. from the time we got to the port to the time we walked into our room was about 20min. very well organized. we didn't find the ship layout confusing unlike others. different as there is no mid-ship elevator. and getting to the 5th floor where guest service is as well as the atrium means going to 6th floor and taking staircase or escalator down to that floor. restaurants are spread out between mid-ship and aft. with theater and dinner theater locations in the forward part of ship. first time we have been on ship with so much freestyle dining which was perfect for us. not being relegated to a particular sitting as 5 of 7 nights we were on excursions during the day so was nice not to be the relegated to the older 6:30/9:30 dining room options. definitely a positive change by the cruise industry in general. We ate in the Manhattan main DR room (aft)twice, and the Taste(near atrium) once for dinner but 3 times for breakfast. food was good. service was good for most part. waiter in the Taste was a little off her game the night we were their. We purchased the AI beverage package as well as 3 specialty dining meals. Cagney steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria, La Cucina. all three were very good. Cagney and Moderno share the same space right about the Manhattan room on deck 7. Moderno is a brazilian steakhouse where they walk around brining different meats to your table until you tell them to stop Italian was the fanciest and is forward with views right out into ocean on the 14th floor. you actually access it by walking through the garden cafe buffet to the front of it and down the stairs. O Sheehans bar/grille which is on deck 6 midship is very popluar congregating place. Open 24 hours for food(fixed bar/pub food menu) but stops serving booze at 3am. food is just average. has a little game room with pool tables, arcade games and 3 lanes of ten pin bowling. We found the selection of alcohol was very good and pretty consistent among all bars. maybe a little less likely to find exactly what you want at the 2 pool bars. our AI beverage package got us everything that was $15/drink or less. so bicardi, grey goose, kettle one, bombay sapphire, jack daniels,bulleit, patron all part of the plan. next level up we would have had to pay surcharge. all beers were less than $15 and there were enough wines to choose from $15 or less as well. spent our ship time at the SPICE H2O pool bar and grill which during the day (to 6pm) is adults only. this was nice. always manage to get a seat. in chair waiter service was really good here. server to cruiser ration much better than around the main pool bar where we spent 1 afternoon. Really like the Maltings beer and whiskey bar as well as the Martini bar. We also participating in Sky vodka ice bar which was an additional $25/person. this got you the outerwear and 2 vodka drinks once in side. we had never been in one and wanted to try one. it was interesting and glad we did it. we did 3 cruise sponsored excursions. Livorno/florence we did the Pisa & a Taste of Tuscany excursion. 40 minute ride and then you spend the morning in Pisa. then 40 min ride you go to Lucca, mountains to a winery where you get a little tour about the place/process. then you sit down to a meal with the ability to sample the wines they make there, both red and white. We really liked this excursion. very well organized by Norwegain EE's. In Cannes we did a tour of Monaco/Eze/Monte Carlo. you bus to each of these location spending 1-2 hours in each location. Monaco was good and Eze was fantastic. Monte carlo was a waste of time as really nothing there but the famed casino and you can't even get in without paying a fee. on the way to Monaco we drove by/thru the seaside town of Nice. It was really nice and wish that was on the itinerary over Monte Carlo. Naples we did the Mt Vesuvius & Pompeii. This was really good. see the active volcano and the city it buried in ash back in 79 AD. really picturesque and really historical. In Barcelona and the island or Palma, Majorca we went on our own. all ports off and on boarding very well organized. We didn't do any of Epic theater shows except the Beatles tribute band. other offerings just not our style. went to Headliners couple of nights which had various musical acts, told that when this ship cruises out of US the actually have comedians mixed in with musical acts. Bliss lounge had karaoke most nights. they don't in Mediterranean due to language barrier/issues. Dueling piano show at this venue a really good take. All in all we were really pleased with the cruise. We would definitely sail aboard this ship again and given our liking of this ship would definitely cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is a very hard review to write because this trip had so many aspects. I’ll try to break them down for you. First I’ll let you know we are a family of three, my wife, seven year old daughter, and myself. We got on and off ... Read More
This is a very hard review to write because this trip had so many aspects. I’ll try to break them down for you. First I’ll let you know we are a family of three, my wife, seven year old daughter, and myself. We got on and off in Rome as apposed to Barcelona. I was told that much less then half the ship embark in Rome. We carried our one large suitcase and three carryons onto the ship so we didn’t have to wait on our stuff. Also got on around 2pm and everything was ready. On to the ship, other then a few rust spots (very small) on the balcony, a few paint over spots, and a small deck area being worked on, the ship was very good condition. It’s not a brand new ship but no complaints. The food was hit or miss. All breakfasts were in the buffet and and it’s a little better than basic. Specially restaurants were okay. A few great plates followed by an ok one. I understand we are on a ship and not every meal is going to please everyone. One stand out was the hibachi! Awesome! The pool and deck. Crowded! Especially on the one “at sea” day. On this day we made the mistake and slept in. By the time we got to the deck, 11 ish, every deck chair was taken and no one was giving them up. My wife went to a single chair in the back of the ship and I waited up front. I got extremely lucky and grabbed two chairs. Was a handful of people doing the same, fortunately for me I was closest to the chairs. If you choose this trip designate someone to get to the deck before 9, grab your chairs, put towels and a shoe or hat on them. This might be a common practice for regulars but in was not prepared. Kids area. My seven year old daughter loved the kids area. She would go everyday after dinner till we picked her up at 10:30. They start charging after 10:30 pm. No matter how tired she was from the day she had energy to go to the kids area. This was gold for me and the wife! We got at least an hour and a half to two hours alone to enjoy time together. Bars and nightlife. We got the all inclusive alcohol package. This worked well for us. We are not big drinkers it it’s nice to know that everything is paid for. We spent most of our evenings at the whiskey bar. I drank beer or wine, wife drank wine. We lived this area because ever night they had live music. Perfect level of energy. Not sleepy but not to crazy. Want crazy, head up to the deck. Always a evening party up there but we never went so no review on it. We also spent time at the casino. This was also a blast except when the big ballers came along and would take over the tables. This didn’t happen often so I wouldn’t take points away from it. Now on the the most important part, excursions and port visits. We did a tour in every port except where we got on, Rome, and Canes. I’m a huge traveler and this and I love to experience other cultures and really get in-depth. You won’t get that on a cruise. We found this is great to walk around, take a few pictures, buy some magnets and souvenirs, get going on to the next one. The time you spend in port is not Long enough. -First port was Florence & Pisa. We did the “on your own tour”. Glad we did. Basically it was a informative bus ride to Pisa for pictures then a two hour ride to Florence, then back to the ship. This worked well for us but because of time restraints we couldn’t see David or climb the leaning tower. -Canes, no tour. We didn’t need one because the ship pulled right in downtown. Got off and saw most of the city on foot. Beautiful. -Majorca, Palma and Villdemosa tour. This tour was just okay. We first took a ride up the Castle, wast of time. Just good for a few pictures overlooking the city. Not worth the time it took to get there. Then Villdemose, AMAZING! Love this little town! Made this tour worthwhile. After lunch in this town we were brought back to Palma and took a few pictures at a beach but didn’t see any of the city. -Barcelona, biggest disappointment because I love this city. We took the “best of Barcelona” tour. Started with a short bus ride around the city then a walking tour of the old city. The guide was informative but spent a lot of time on local politics. After downtown is when the tour lost me. We took a 20 minute ride to a tourist trap. An old replica of a Spanish village. WHAT THE HECK!!! We are in real Spain, why are we here for over an hour? This is appropriate for a school field trip. After waisting a chunk of the day there we went to La Sangrada Famila. Beautiful. Loved this part until again the tour ruined it. We did the walk through of the church then were told to get food and meet up in an hour. Why eat here? I asked the tour guide if we would make it to la Rambla and was told we did t have time? Best of Barcelona and we had over an hour for some fake Epcot Spain exhibit but no time for La Rambla? Unbelievable! Whole day with this tour and don’t get 15 minutes to sit, drink a sangria, and people watch! This was a huge fail! Do yourself a favor, do the hop on hop off tour! Save a ton of money! -last was Naples, best tour of the trip. We did the Amalfi coast and Pompei. Amazing! Do this tour!!!! Only advice I can say, take motion sickness medication before you guy. Bus ride was crazy but that’s part of the fun, and sit on the right side of the bus. Long review but like I said this vacation had a lot of elements. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have cruised on NCL many times. The Breakaway is an awesome ship with solid service. The Epic is the opposite in every way. Service is awful and staff, especially front desk, is rude, condescending and scattered (e.g. the first rep ... Read More
We have cruised on NCL many times. The Breakaway is an awesome ship with solid service. The Epic is the opposite in every way. Service is awful and staff, especially front desk, is rude, condescending and scattered (e.g. the first rep we talked with had no idea what the Posh Beach Club is). BTW, Posh is nothing like the amazing Vibe Beach Club on the Breakaway. It has no hot tub, just a boring, hot deck for which a pass costs way more than it's worth. The Epic cabins are old, musty and poorly designed; with the toilet separate from the sink which is unfortunately the first thing you see. The cheap glass door makes sounds & smells from the toilet a constant nuisance. The gym had two of three exercise bikes "out of order," the ice machines were constantly broken and the Garden Cafe was closed too many times to count. Great itinerary (Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Cannes, Palma) but overall, this is the worst NCL cruise we've ever taken. Epic Failure! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first cruise. We were concerned by reading other reviews, but eventually the overall experience for us (a family with 3 kids) was very good. The food choice is good. If you are organized enough to reserve a restaurant in ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We were concerned by reading other reviews, but eventually the overall experience for us (a family with 3 kids) was very good. The food choice is good. If you are organized enough to reserve a restaurant in advance you will not be waiting too much. Hi if you are not pre scheduling and would like to eat your dinner around 20:00 at Taste or Manhattan you will have a line of around 45 minutes, but you always have an option to go to the buffet or Osheean’s. We preferred the restaurants over the buffet, which was always noisy and very hard to find a table in busy times. We tried La Cuccina ones. It was good but not worth the extra package, unless you get it for free. Osheeans was good for quick lunch when we got back early on port days. We bought soda package for the kids and they enjoyed. The service at the restaurants was excellent. My daughter needs gluten free and the chef was always so helpful to get her something she liked and it was great. Our stateroom was always clean, few times a day, and the service on your room is flawless. Entertainment is also good. Percilia is great, burn the floor as well, and the short piano and magician shows. You have flexibility on what to choose. Don’t miss the Cirque show. It worth the extra money, as we experience the show in a way we didn’t experience it before. The performers are just one meter in front of you (be there 45 minutes before the show to get good seats). Fitness center was good, although a bit small. Embarkation in Rome was good and quick assuming you arrive before 14:00. For the less good parts: the pools are very small. EPIC preferred a large water park over pools and you fill it at busy times. If you want to swim this is not the ship for you. The elevators are wasting a lot of your time. Those are always crowded and you can wait 10 minutes just to get into an elevator on busy times. To make it worse, if someone has a vip card, he can bypass all floors, and this is really annoying. Norwegian needs to find a solution for that. I recommend taking your stateroom in one of the higher floors (13, 14), so you can always climb the stairs to the pool or buffet at 15. The 15$ for a day per person for service charge is too much to our view. Especially when they take service charges on alcohol and other priced items. Disembarkation in Rome was very bad. It is a shame we ended our trip with a bad taste of waiting 40 minutes in line with all our luggage. People registered to excursions were getting a priority which I really disliked. It reduces a lot of points, because I do expect a vendor to give the service till the end. We got exhausted to our return flight because of that. Overall I recommend a vacation at Norwegian EPIC. I might return, but I will try other ships first to compare. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First...the Epic is a fantastic boat for all. I felt like it does everything at an A- level. Nothing was A+ which to be honest is just super. Some boats have varying degrees of grades in my perspective but everything was top notch so ... Read More
First...the Epic is a fantastic boat for all. I felt like it does everything at an A- level. Nothing was A+ which to be honest is just super. Some boats have varying degrees of grades in my perspective but everything was top notch so for a family looking for a lot of different things, I think this boat is just big enough with a lot of different things to do an experience. It felt like a big boat and not busy which was even better. Overall the Haven suite (2 bedroom) is perfect for a family. It is a bit pricy but the experience and to some degree the sanity you get from this is well worth the price. Plus we always had priority on shows, dining locations, etc. made it worthwhile as then we didn't have to wait in long lines at all. The Haven dining room was amazing as well and I felt like a VIP the entire cruise. Also the Haven 2 Bedroom Family room had an amazing Master Bath (best in class) and I was so surprised by it's size (and view!). Rome embarkation was quick and efficient as only 1.2k people boarded. Mid week we docked in Barcelona and that is when 3.3k people came off and on. So the learning is find out which port has the 'lower' embarkation number of people and go that route. Food was excellent in the restaurants and some of the best food I have ever eaten to be honest. The buffet on deck 15 is pretty good, but not memorable. I recommend getting the specialty dining to use at places like Teppanyaki (which was my favorite). The Beverage package for the free drinks was amazing and I just wonder how NCL does it as I have read that is where they make huge margins. Maybe it is built into the price but even then I notice the price on my cruise was lower than what I found for like experiences on Royal or Princess. Entertainment was excellent. Loved the Drag Queen show, Burn the Floor and all the other singers on board. The escape room was a bit hokey but fun for an hour. The circus show was amazing as well but it was a diner show which was plated to start with so didn't get a ton of options to choose a meal (but it was still great). Western Med was a great family cruise and I took advantage of the excursions. The value on the boat is just ok to be honest, and would recommend probably going outside of NCL to book them, but if you want hassle free.....it is not too bad. I would say end to end I give this cruise an A- across the board. It was close to an A in my book, but the boat did show a bit of age at places but it is going through a refurbishing soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've cruised NCL many times and love the perks of Haven. On this cruise there was an overabundance of children in the Haven area and unmonitored by their parents. Many times in the Haven restaurant the unruly children were ... Read More
We've cruised NCL many times and love the perks of Haven. On this cruise there was an overabundance of children in the Haven area and unmonitored by their parents. Many times in the Haven restaurant the unruly children were literally crawling under other guests' tables, playing at the empty tables, touching the plates, silverware and glasses as though they were having tea parties. The staff couldn't discipline the children and were left trying to walk around them as they waited on us. We had a courtyard Haven suite #17009, not the best. Our tub was extremely difficult to get in/out of. The bathroom door continuously fell off the track. We always tip our butler at the beginning or the cruise and they switched out butlers on our floor three days into the cruise. The afternoon treats delivered to our Haven suite was peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on two occasions with stale potato chips. Not the Haven perk we came to appreciate on other NCL ships. The food was spectacular in the Haven restaurant and specialty restaurants. We had some of the best servers ever on this cruise and enjoyed a spectacular wine tasting event onboard. Being on the 17th floor we often took the elevators - or tried to. Elevators were always packed. The ports were very busy, excursions were crowded. Overall, we would not take this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I (and 4 family members) chose this cruise because I was invited along with a large group trip. I never planned on doing a Norwegian Cruise because I have not heard positive feedback about this cruise line. I have to say that the cruise ... Read More
I (and 4 family members) chose this cruise because I was invited along with a large group trip. I never planned on doing a Norwegian Cruise because I have not heard positive feedback about this cruise line. I have to say that the cruise was fine. The ship was tremendous. I really prefer a smaller ship. The amount of people (over 4,000 guests) on the boat all at once on sea day was crazy and it was hard for the staff to keep up especially in the pool and buffet areas. They did do one good thing though, Part of the guests started in Rome and some started in Barcelona. So it split up the amount of guests coming and going. This also made the food constantly fresh and replaced. Nothing ran out. About the food, I thought it was very good. I was catered to for my allergies and my family enjoyed all the foods they ordered. The buffet was also quite good. About the rooms and bathrooms. The room my husband and I were in was big enough. It was a mini suite, A little tight getting around the bed area. The bathroom was strange. The shower was actually big. The toilet area was small. Both were split as you walked into the room and had frosted glass doors covering each area. So, You could not open the door to the room if someone was using either side of the bathroom. There was a curtain to pull to separate that area with the rest of the room. Any room less than a mini suite is definitely too small. Bathroom is also split. Shower is small. Room is shorter and not enough storage especially if you have more than two people. And, there was barely enough room to pass in front of the bed. Entertainment was great. Not enough for our liking. Had to book ahead like excursions and had to pay for some. Shore excursions were good. For some reason bus seats were wet though. Embarkations and debarkation worked our excellently. All, in all......Stay in a bigger room. Book when there is a deal. They offer a lot of amenities for free. Enjoy the excursions. Lock the door so the steward doesn't enter when you are in there. PS- If doing Italy, definitely use Italytours.EU for excursions. So amazing even though it is a long day. We did private tours with guides and skip the line tickets. Well worth it. So impressed!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is our third cruise with NCL. Our previous sailings were on Pride of America and Escape. We love NCL and would recommend this cruise line for quality, cleanliness, and service. Embarkation: Very smooth and didn’t take long ... Read More
This is our third cruise with NCL. Our previous sailings were on Pride of America and Escape. We love NCL and would recommend this cruise line for quality, cleanliness, and service. Embarkation: Very smooth and didn’t take long at all. They segmented everyone into groups in the order in which you arrived. They would go through a group in about 15 minutes. From the time we arrived at the terminal until we were onboard was about 30 – 40 minutes. There was plenty of seating and accommodations available such as restrooms, free water, and a snack bar. The waiting area was air conditioned, clean, and comfortable. The embarking operation was organized, adequately staffed, and well ran. Boarding: When you board the ship there was nobody to greet you. You just follow the line of people in front of you and, SHAZAM, you find yourself on board wondering where to go next. Carnival does a good job greeting and welcoming. NCL could improve this part of the experience. Food: It seemed that the food selection at the buffet was scaled back somewhat from what we have experienced on the other two NCL ships. Maybe this is done to entice people into the restaurants? Nevertheless, the food quality was good and there was still a great selection. I am on the Keto diet and my wife is vegan vegetarian. Food selection and quality are important to us, and NCL certainly does this better than Carnival; hands down! Cleanliness: The ship was 5 Star Spotless. NCL does this very well. The ship is always well staffed, and workers are always nearby whenever a mess is made to clean it up immediately. This is also true for the rooms. The cabin attendants are full service, friendly, and helpful. They keep our room neat and maintained around the clock. Beverages: This is the first time that we’ve ever used a beverage package on any cruise line. My wife and I simply do not drink enough for them to come close to being worth the price. However, in this case, it was offered to us as a promotional at a significantly reduced price of $125 per person. With a total cost of $250 for the two of us it fell into the category of good value. This should not be a promotional price; it should be the full-time rate as it is a good rate for both the cruise line and the customer. We did not drink anywhere near $250 worth of retail liquor, beer, or wine. But we did drink more than $250 worth of ship priced liquor-by-the-drink beverages. If ships sold these for a flat rate of $125 per person for every cruise, I am convinced they would enjoy a larger number of customers buying them and netting themselves a larger revenue. As for the customer, they would enjoy a carefree cruise by having a prepaid beverage package which eliminates the worry of sticker shock at the end. Spa: We did not use any spa services this time around. It has been our experience that what you get is never worth the price. We decided to focus our money on more off-the-ship activities this time around. Pools & Hot Tubs: We didn’t swim at any pools, but we did use the “warm tubs” at Spice H2O. I say “Warm Tubs” because they are nowhere near hot. Aside from water temperature the areas are clean and well maintained. Service at the H20 bar was quick and easy. On-Board Entertainment: • Bingo – We always enjoy playing bingo. • Atrium Game Shows – These are fun to do for those in between times. Love them! • Pricilla – Mediocre • Helen Ward Jackson Adel Tribute – Fantastic, highly talented, fun, energetic • Burn The Floor – We never got to see it. They tell you to register, so we did. We registered the day we got on the ship for the only night that was available. As it turned out it was not a show night, it was at the restaurant act. We missed the show. I wish they’d do away with reservations for these shows and go back to just showing up for them. On-Board Shopping: We didn’t do any shopping this time around. None of the stores are open while the ship is docked, which is everyday except one on this itinerary. The ship gets underway around supper time each evening and the stores open then. But our time was spent on other activities during evening hours. Excursions: • Countryside & Wine Tasting @ Florence/Pisa: Fantastic – 5 Star – Totally Recommend • Grasse & St. Paul De Vence @ Cannes: Great – 4 Star – Recommend • Local Wines & Panorama @ Palma Majorca – 4 Star – Recommend • Hop On & Hop Off Bus @ Barcelona – 1 Star – Don’t Recommend, very little information or guidance on where to go, what to do, or how to do it. You’re left to your own wit to figure it out. • Hop On & Hop Off Bus @ Naples – 1 Star – Don’t Recommend, SUCKED! These should be named “Shove’em on a bus and let them figure it out” tours Disembarkation: Leaving the ship was very organized, easy, and quick. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have done a lot of cruising and have never seen a cruise ship set up like this! Rooms were the worst. You open the door to look at a shower with a frosted glass door on your right and a toilet with a frosted glass door on your left. If ... Read More
We have done a lot of cruising and have never seen a cruise ship set up like this! Rooms were the worst. You open the door to look at a shower with a frosted glass door on your right and a toilet with a frosted glass door on your left. If you are using either of these and some one walks in the room they will see you! You can see and hear everything in those! Absolutely no privacy. The bed was AWFUL. A rounded headboard and 2 twin mattresses making it a king size bed. But they are rounded on the top and bottom so your feet hang off all night. I’m only 5’2”. Absolutely horrible lighting. You can’t even read a book or put make up on. The hair dryer plugs in below the desk and it’s almost impossible to stretch the cord to reach your head. Ours was not working anyway so had to ask for another one. No storage. The drawers were so narrow you couldn’t put clothes in them. Room stewards were hardly around and not very friendly. I was never called by my name when he was around. Rug was filthy too. Hallways were curved and very strange. The 2 pools were like postage stamps crammed with people and kids. Water temp was in the 90’s. The kiddie pool area had a spraying part which did not work at all. Buffet was very mediocre and service horrible. The main dining room food was just ok & horrible service. I can’t say anyone working for them went out of their way to be friendly except for the washy washy girl when you entered the buffet. They rest of the staff should take a few lessons from her. Not many photo shooting opportunities in the evening and we were a group of 11 family members with kid 3,4,7,16 and the one photographer said she couldn’t take pictures of a group that big...what?? And if someone was having a photo shoot where they were doing it was so inconvenient that there was no room to walk around them. You either interrupted them or had to wait to get by. Shows were practically non existent. The good things were the upgraded dining rooms and staff. Excellent! The main reason I chose this ship were the ports they went to and that did not disappoint. Wonderful but I hired all private excursions which were also wonderful and less money then the ship charges & just our family. We did not realize that this ship has two ports for boarding and embarkation. Talk about confusion getting off the ship that day for an excursion. Tried to get a taxi at Barcelona port and waited over an hour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I sailed on three NCL ships including this one with family. The last time I went was about 4 years ago and my experience was amazing. The food was amazing, the entertainment was fun. It was just a great time. and I emphasize again how ... Read More
I sailed on three NCL ships including this one with family. The last time I went was about 4 years ago and my experience was amazing. The food was amazing, the entertainment was fun. It was just a great time. and I emphasize again how amazing the food was. This time I felt like, to get anything of reasonable quality, I had to empty my pockets. I will take you through my journey. Lets start with the good: Crew is very nice, and the service is excellent. The ship is huge and doesn't feel too overcrowded. Cabin was comfortable and well taken care of. Good bed, nice shower/bathroom set up. Now the bad: I tried every free restaurant and the buffet. The only good one was O'Sheehans. Everything else was completely sub par. As the days progressed I felt hunger leaving my body as I walked through the buffet. I decided to try 'Manhattan' diner. My steak was cooked as I requested - medium. yet I felt I was chewing on beef jerky. My girlfriend ordered chicken. It tasted like water. The next day we tried 'Taste' diner. Guess what.... Taste diner has the same exact menu as Manhattan diner. I asked whats the difference, they said "In manhattan diner you have to wear long pants, here you can wear shorts." On the last day I saw where my scrambled eggs were coming from. Those were the only edible things and it was coming from a frozen milk carton. I gagged and lost my appetite - Fresh fruit it is! I was not going to spend $39 at their 'premium' restaurants. They lost my trust. Internet costs $1 per minute if you don't get a deal, and about $3 to activate... its' download speed is about 1mb. Saw a guy tearing his hair out because he just couldn't do what he needed but the money was being sucked from his account. So you pay $800 to go on a cruise. You pay $240 extra for service. You pay $5 - 15 for the bus to take you from the ship to another transportation system. And you still can't get decent food. When they say 'chocolate mousse" or 'strawberry mousse', they don't really know what mousse means. They are jello cakes. pizza - tasteless burgers - burned meat patties water - fresh from the toilet The pools are TINY. about the size of your small cabin. The "Washy washy happy happy" Got old FAST. I felt like I had to cough up cash to have a good sneeze. Soon they will charge premium for breathable air. Shanghai noodle bar - overcooked chicken (as usual on this ship). Ordered noodles with chicken and shrimp. I received exactly two tiny shrimps and exactly 2 tiny pieces of chicken - tasted good though. and the 5 spice chocolate cake is decent. $4 for bottled water - lol. Entertainment - comedian was alright. Deal or no deal was fun to watch. But of course you have to pay to even have a slim chance to participate. Enrichment activities... where? Soccer tournament - got to play for 8 minutes. k. Shore excursions... lol $300 per person. The locals were nicer to us about excursions than the cruiseline. They wanted $60 per person to drive us to the airport. Locals did it for $20. Spent a total of $1850 to eat eggs out of a milk carton for 7 days. You really lost your touch, NCL. 3rd trip, and you've now lost me and my family forever. Wish I could get my money and time back. PS: I should have taken the photo of the boxed eggs but I was too nauseated. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Epic Family Cruise on the Med This was a three generation family cruise undertaken to celebrate our two milestone birth anniversaries – my 75th and my wife’s 70th birthdays that occurred earlier in the year. Happily it also ... Read More
Epic Family Cruise on the Med This was a three generation family cruise undertaken to celebrate our two milestone birth anniversaries – my 75th and my wife’s 70th birthdays that occurred earlier in the year. Happily it also coincided with the pending 50th birthday of our daughter-in-law, so we actually had three reasons to celebrate during the cruise. It also provided us the opportunity to introduce our family to the wonderful world of cruising, so we especially wanted an experience that would be meaningful and enjoyable for our two children, their spouses and our four grandchildren aged 12 through to 18. We had certain limitations in selecting an appropriate cruise. It firstly had to synchronise with school and university holidays giving us a window of only the first ten days or so of July. Secondly, we wanted our family to have an inclusive cruising experience with pre-paid gratuities, speciality dining and beverage packages. Thirdly, it was important that each family unit of four had inter-leading balcony cabins, and finally, we hoped for an itinerary that would introduce first-time cruisers to a number of iconic destinations in the Mediterranean. And all of this at an affordable cost! The scheduled Norwegian Epic cruise from 03 to 10 July of the Western Mediterranean was the only one that ticked all the boxes so we took the plunge and booked with NCL. We did so with some trepidation, primarily because of the size of this mega ship knowing that at the height of the holiday season the ship would be filled to capacity and we were especially concerned about the crowds and inevitable queues at restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and when embarking and disembarking over 4800 passengers at each port of call. But more so, we were worried about the negative reviews we had read on Cruise Critic about the Epic. Our concerns were unfounded and the Epic exceeded our expectations at virtually all levels. Sure, there are a number of (in the greater scheme of things minor) matters one may take issue with but, in our view as relatively experienced cruisers having taken some twenty cruises over the past fifteen or so years with primarily five star cruise companies, the Norwegian Epic offers a far better cruise experience than one would be led to believe when reading some comments on the web. Let’s get our main negative out of the way before proceeding with the review. NCL has a reputation for “nickel and diming” and we believe this is due to their strange practice of not fully disclosing the price of products on sale up front. Whatever one purchases is also subject to an undisclosed tax so one always ends up paying more for a product or service than the prominently published price. A case in point is their cost (ridiculously high in any event) of bottled water which passengers are forced to purchase on board as NCL will not allow bottled water purchased on shore to be brought on board. We purchased a package of 24 one litre bottles at a published cost of $44 only to find that the actual amount charged to our account was $58 – a premium of 32%! The additional costs were a 20% service gratuity and the balance a sales tax. We cannot understand why one has to pay a service gratuity and additional sales tax for purchasing a bottle of water but, if that is NCL’s policy, we believe the company should be upfront with its pricing and not mislead passengers with its non-inclusive pricing policy (applicable to all goods and services). We lodged a complaint about the cost of the bottled water package with Guest Relations but did not get any response whatsoever to our query. The only other minor issue we had was with the high cost of shuttle bus services offered by NCL. Being a mega ship, ships the size of the Epic more often than not, have to berth some distance from the places of interest in the ports visited. Using some form of transportation to get downtown is therefore pretty much a necessity and in such circumstances we believe the ship company should at worst, provided such a shuttle service at cost and not make an additional profit from their passengers. Often if one was prepared to walk 500 meters or so, one could get much cheaper transport from taxis, on-shore tour operators or even public transport. Enough of the negative rants! Much more productive to focus on the positives of the cruise. As already mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised by our Epic experience. Some random observations include: The ship: Clean and well maintained throughout, the Epic is a beautiful mega ship even though it is showing notable signs of wear and tear. We were impressed with the layout of many dining options available on the ship and even though the ship was fully booked, we seldom got the sense of being over crowded. The Epic is a fun boat with the focus on entertainment and activities. Consequently, there are virtually no areas where one can just sit and relax. There is a constant buzz going on, but it would still be nice to find a quiet lounge area where one could just relax and read a book. Initially, the layout and configuration of the vessel can be confusing but once one understands that everything really happens on either the pool deck or on decks 5 and 6 where most of the dining options, theatre, bars, entertainment venues and casino are located, it becomes relatively easy to find ones way around the boat. Elevators are only located at the two ends of the ship making it almost mandatory to walk through the entertainment decks to get anywhere. Unfortunately this means that one cannot escape the smoke ridden casino to access certain venues! NCL should seriously reconsider its practice of permitting smoking in the casino – a practice that has been banned in every other cruise line ship we have sailed. Staterooms: We booked two sets of inter-leading balcony cabins to accommodate each family unit and a mini suite for ourselves. All accommodations were more than adequate with plenty of storage space. The mini suite is slightly larger than the standard balcony cabin but has the same layout – including the strange shower and toilet configuration which takes some getting used to. We understand that this bathroom layout has never been re-emulated on any other NCL ship and will be changed when the Epic undergoes a major refurbishment in the next year or so. Dining: The Epic has multiple dining options. Given the size of the ship, it is advisable to pre book one’s preferred dining venue for dinners especially if one likes to dine during peak hours. Our travel consultant had arranged to pre book dinners for our entire party of ten for each night of the cruise at a selected range of included and speciality dining venues. This helped immeasurably as we never had to queue or wait for a table at any of the selected venues. Food, in terms of both quality and presentation was invariably of a good to excellent standard. The buffet Garden Café was our chosen venue for most breakfasts and lunches. We found the quality and range of options to be surprisingly good for a buffet and would rank the Epic’s buffet restaurant as one of the best we have yet experienced on a cruise line. We had a table served breakfast on two occasions in the Trellis restaurant and, again, were more than satisfied with the fare on offer. For dinners we experimented with a range of venues. We dined at both of the included restaurants (Trellis and Manhattan) which both offer the same menu each evening. The Trellis is a more casual venue while the Manhattan offers a more upmarket experience. Both are well laid out and furnished with attentive service. We found the food to be good and attractively presented. Where the Epic shines is in the variety and quality of its speciality dining options. We experienced three and they all met or exceeded our expectations. As mentioned, we were celebrating three milestone birth anniversaries on this cruise so we chose to celebrate a different birthday at each of the speciality restaurants we selected. At two of these, the Le Bistro and La Cucina, we were even surprised with special birthday cakes delivered to the table even though we had only indicated we were celebrating a milestone birthday once we were seated at our table. A nice, unexpected touch! Food at the French Le Bistro restaurant was exceptional – typically small potions, but beautifully presented and delicious all round. Teppanyaki, the Japanese inspired restaurant was a really fun experience. The delightfully humorous Chef kept us all in fits of laughter as he cooked and served food of surprisingly high quality. We also could not find fault with the service and food quality at the Italian La Cucina restaurant . Our experience at all three speciality restaurants we dined at more than met our expectations. The only marginally disappointing dining experiences were in the Shanghai noodle restaurant and at O’Sheehans Pub where we found the fare to be unappetizing and bland. However, the younger members of the family enjoyed the pub food at O’Sheehans especially the chicken wings and fajitas! Entertainment: A wide range of entertainment options are offered – there is something going on all the time so one can never be bored! The main theatre show “Priscilla of the Desert” was exceptional, equivalent in standard to anything we have previously experienced on board a cruise ship, or even on Broadway or the West End for that matter. None of our party enjoyed the other main theatre production “Burn the Floor”, a sentiment obviously shared by many other passengers as the venue was less than half full even though this show has to be pre-booked. We found it repetitive and frankly boring. On the other hand the nightly “Howl at the Moon” productions in the Headliners Comedy Club were great fun with plenty of good, noisy music and repartee between two dueling pianists. The Beatles Cavern Club show was a bit disappointing but perhaps this was due to the small venue being so overcrowded on the night we attended the show. In addition to the more formal productions, two exceptionally talented singer/pianists entertained passengers at a variety of venues each evening. Good sing along music and good fun. We thought Roberto, the Cruise Director, to be one of the best we have yet had over our years of cruising. Efficient, engaging, informative and understated, sans all the false over the top bonhomie one generally finds with Cruise Directors on cruise ships Bars: There are so many bars situated throughout the ship that one is never in danger of becoming thirsty! We had a beverage package as an included amenity on our booking. This is a virtual necessity on the Epic as the price of liquor is exorbitant and otherwise would be a major dampener for those of us who are inclined to enjoy the occasional tipple or two! Our favoured venue was the Shakers cocktail bar where we can attest they can fix a mean martini! The whole family unit of ten participated in the Ice Bar experience. It was fun but ridiculously overpriced at $20 per person plus tax even though two cocktails are thrown in as part of the deal. Anoraks and gloves are provided but, on reflection, it really is quite masochistic to pay good money to stand in a fridge for an hour! Service: Along with our general experiences with other cruise lines, we found the standard of service on the Epic from staff at all levels (stateroom attendants, waiters, barmen etc.), to be excellent, always available to provide attentive service with a smile. It was evident also that most staff appeared to be proud to be employed by NCL so the company must be doing something right in its employment and training processes. Itinerary: One of the reasons we chose this cruise was to give or family, who had not cruise before, the opportunity of visiting some of the iconic ports of the Western Mediterranean. As we had been to most places on a few occasions beforehand, we did our own thing in all the ports except Palma Mallorca, allowing the rest of the family to explore the ports and adjacent locales unencumbered by their ageing parents! They pre-booked private tours of Pisa/Florence and of Naples/Pompei/Sorrento/Amalfi Coast and explored other destinations on their own. They were more than happy with their experiences and would recommend the private tour option which ends up much cheaper than the equivalent ship excursions and also allows for more flexibility and the option to custom design the experience should one so wish. Our primary objective with this cruise was to give our children and grandchildren a taste of the joys of cruising that we have been privileged to enjoy for so many years. After all the less than complimentary reviews we had read about what to expect on the Epic, we were truly concerned that their experiences on the ship would not be all we wished for. We need not have worried! Did they enjoy the cruise? Hell yeah! So mission accomplished. Indeed, we think we may just have produced another two generations of cruise aficionados!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We sailed in early July with our two teenagers, ages 14 and 18. We had a spectacular vacation! We stayed in the Haven, which gave the four of us all the space and privacy we needed and then some. We flew into Rome two days early. ... Read More
We sailed in early July with our two teenagers, ages 14 and 18. We had a spectacular vacation! We stayed in the Haven, which gave the four of us all the space and privacy we needed and then some. We flew into Rome two days early. There's a quick train from Rome to the port city of Civitavecchia. We had no trouble getting around and made it to the ship in plenty of time. Civitavecchia has many restaurants and gelato places close by to stop at before boarding. Embarkation was a breeze. If you can swing the Haven, it's absolutely the way to go. Our room had two private bedrooms, a spacious living area, and two full bathrooms. The main bathroom shower had room for a small village of people! There was plenty of storage space and the niceties like robes and slippers and upgraded toiletries. The Haven comes with a butler and he was wonderful. He brought us snacks each afternoon and also handles room service if you desire. Our room was equipped with an espresso machine and a minibar. The Haven also has it's own restaurant and cocktail lounge; both are outstanding as well as its own small pool and jacuzzi. Our cabin was 16003 which is a forward cabin. Our bathroom had floor to ceiling windows in the showers (with shades for when you're actually showering) and provide a gorgeous view out the front of the ship. We had the same view as the bridge, which was kind of neat. Dining is "freestyle", so you decide where and when you want to eat. There is the usual cruise buffet, as well as two more formal dining rooms. Buffets are not my thing, but as far as they go, this one had plenty of options including Indian food, hamburgers/hot dogs, and themed hot entrees and was a nice break for my younger teen who just wanted to eat in his swimsuit and be done with it. The other two dining rooms, Taste and Manhattan were both top notch with typical cruise fares - starter, meat/fish, starch, veggies, and dessert. The wine lists were extensive and reasonably priced. There is also a pub which services quick burgers, sandwiches, and the like which has extended hours. The pub also had pool tables and other arcade games. You can also do specialty dining - some is an extra charge, some is included, but all need reservations to assure your spot. They included a French restaurant, teppanyaki, noodle bar, and a traditional American steakhouse. The French restaurant, Le Bistro, requires (no exceptions) long pants for everyone over 12. My one son ate dinner in his pajama pants, which was not a problem for the maitre'd. All the other restaurants are generally relaxed on dress code - some people were all dressed up and others were in shorts and tshirts. There is also a coffee bar to get espressos and blended coffee drinks for an additional charge. Definitely get the beverage package so you don't have to think about it. The ship will serve your 18 year old beer and wine if they have your permission. In port, people offered our 18 year old booze consistently. Not a problem for us, but be mindful if this is a concern for you. In fact, in Rome, they served our 14 year old lemoncello. He was not a fan..... We loved the live music; there's a Beatles tribute band, a sing along Elton John show, and themed shows featuring music of Stevie Wonder and others. We didn't attend either of the two main shows which require reservations - we just didn't get to it and our kids weren't super interested in either. They also have a dueling piano show - it was very popular. Not our favorite, but just a matter of personal taste. During the "at sea" day, they had an "escape room" type activity which we really enjoyed as a family. The main lounge midship, The Atrium, often had games like "Deal or No Deal" and bingo for an additional charge. We aren't gamblers, but the casino was hopping and seemed very popular. Smoking is allowed there, and there is an actual cigar lounge/smoking lounge as well. There is a three lane bowling alley, along with the pool, water slides, rock climbing wall, and sport court. Our 14 year old went to the teen club, which he mostly enjoyed. There are a lot of organized activities, and he was hoping for more "free play" time where he could come and hang out and play video games. That said, he enjoyed the activities (trivia, charades, game shows) that he participated in. It was kind of a bummer that our (newly) 18 year old couldn't participate with his brother there, but we get it. Since we embarked in Civitavecchia, our ports were Florence (Livorno), Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Day at Sea, Naples, and then back to Civitavecchia. I actually think this itinerary lay out is better than boarding in Barcelona. Florence is a slog - it's quite a distance from the port - maybe 90 minutes - so after that and then rapid fire action, we were grateful for the day at sea. I wouldn't have wanted to have that right on the front end of the cruise. In Livorno, we did Pisa/Florence "on your own" which basically provides transportation and then some tour information but mostly you just explore. It was ridiculously hot and there is a lot of walking from the bus to the actual sites, so be prepared. Pisa was magnificent and I'm so glad we didn't skip it. Florence was super crowded and oppressively hot. Pace yourself! In Cannes, we needed an easy day after Florence, so we took the tender from the boat and just wandered through downtown. You can do tours to Monaco or Monte Carlo, but we found a place along the waterfront for lunch, explored the streets, had french desserts, and headed back to the ship. The tender process is easy, but you do need reservations if you want to get an early start. Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona were our two favorite days and we are already talking about a separate trip to Spain. We went on foot both days and found outstanding tapas restaurants in both. Mallorca was wonderful just to explore and walk around the city. In Barcelona, we went to the Pablo Picasso museum and then went to the arch and Citadel Park. There were some great tours, but we had made reservations for the museum and had to work around that. Sundays are free at the museum, but you have to make reservations ahead. In Naples, we struggled because there were so many choices; Sorrento, Amalfi coast, Capri, and Pompeii. We ended up walking into Naples which is right at the port and found a tiny little pizza restaurant and had a pizza we're still talking about. We took the cruise's tour to Pompeii in the afternoon; they have two, "Pompeii excavations" and "Pompeii on your own". I highly recommend excavations. Pompeii is a huge area and is a maze. We really benefited from having someone to walk us around inside and show us the highlights. If we had gone by ourselves, we might still be finding our way out. Debarkation, although EARLY, was a breeze. We walked right off without problem and collected our bags at the port. There is a free bus that will take you from the ship to the entry to the port. From there, you can take a bus for 2 Euro to the train station in Civitavecchia. There is an express train that will get you into the main terminal in Rome in about 45 minutes. We spent three more days in Rome after the cruise before heading home. After 14 days, we were ready to get back, but it was an absolutely wonderful trip. We will sail Norwegian again and would absolutely go on the Epic again. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the ... Read More
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the cruise a bit more expensive but well worth the cost. The Epic is a large ship staffed with a great crew that always seemed committed to offering gracious and friendly service. Traveling with a friend, we were able to book and hold a handicap-equipped cabin which gave us a bit more floor space as well as the balcony which was great. The only down side was that the door to the combined restroom/shower was broken so we had to make due with a curtain hung by velcro -- not exactly the best privacy set up but we were advised that the repair was planned for shortly after our trip. Pro's: Amazing fitness center and Spa -- we opted for the daily spa access and took advantage of both the workout area and jacuzzi every day. The food was always good and because of the variety offered, even the most picky eaters will find ample options. The kids on board seemed to really love the pizza and I agree -- it's very good! The water flume rides are fun and the wait times were reasonable. The entertainment was also top notch. Con's: Very few issues to mention but here are a couple: the ice machines in the restaurants were overwhelmed at times and sometimes the crew could not keep up with the demand for clean cups. The piped in relaxation music in the spa is just one short tune played over and over. They really need to add more relaxing music because the monotonous one song detracts from the calming experience. While the public restrooms were kept clean, there were some metal support pieces in the toilet stalls that seem dingy and need to be polished. I also noticed that some painted surfaces outside the dining room windows that were showing rust. Lastly, the swimming pools themselves are very small for such a large ship. The water in the pools was also very warm and not refreshing. The ports of call on this trip were interesting and the excursion options were plentiful. To be able to visit three countries in 7 days and only unpack once is definitely a great reason to cruise and overall the NCL Epic was a fantastic vessel for my summer vacation! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Arrived in Rome the day before embarkation (highly recommended to allow buffer travel time, time adjustment). Traveled with 3 kids (11,15,18) and had 2 rooms. Rome to Civitavecchia (Port) by train took approx. 1 hour. You need to take ... Read More
Arrived in Rome the day before embarkation (highly recommended to allow buffer travel time, time adjustment). Traveled with 3 kids (11,15,18) and had 2 rooms. Rome to Civitavecchia (Port) by train took approx. 1 hour. You need to take cheap local bus from station to port entrance. Take NCL provided bus from there to ship. Be sure to look for correct ship sign in the bus window. Embarkation was extremely easy and efficient, but it was VERY clear that starting in Rome for Wed. to Wed. cruise was not the big cruise sendoff with fanfare bells and whistles. The Sun. to Sun. starting from Barcelona was where everyone was excited and all the sparkles and charm were put on display. For experienced cruiser this was disappointing. The EPIC is a one of a kind large ship and I see why. They only built 1. The balcony room where the 3 kids stayed was fine, except the couch "bed" was very small and not very comfortable. Our 11 year old was not impressed with it. The bath/shower layout is weird but tolerable, especially because this itinerary didn't allow that much time in the room anyway. Cabin service was acceptable but not impressive, another reason I hate automatic gratuities. I like to reward for exemplary service. Main dining food was good, just a little boring in choices. Service again was adequate. I, for instance, ordered iced tea for dinner and could never seem to get a refill. Annoying. We had 2 Specialty Dining nights ( Cagney's & Teppanyaki) both were excellent as usual and the service there was very good! The buffet worked just fine for 2 youngest kids. Special nod here. As a former restaurant owner, I was very impressed with the effort kitchen staff were observed keeping everything clean and sanitary. I saw temps being taken and staff helping passengers avoid doing dumb things like reaching for food with their hands etc... This was my 15th cruise and I was a little surprised with the entertainment. What they did have was night and day different. Burn The Floor was AWESOME!!! Get those tickets in advance, you won't regret it. Every one of the kids were blown away. Now the bad, Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical. I guess my wife and I should have guessed this in advance but we've always enjoyed the entertainment in the past. This show was extremely disappointing. Never, in all the years have I watched others, including us, walk out of a show. This was just simply not appropriate for main line crowds. This wasn't sexy, sensual, or funny. It was in your face drag queens and raunchy. Terrible choice NCL. I did leave a note to the ships General Manager and he did, to his credit, call me in the morning. He expressed his regret of our experience and said he would forward the note higher up. Later that day we received a plate of chocolate covered strawberries from his office. Funny note, the delivery person was carrying 5-6 additional plates as well. Back to the ship. It was a little hard to find your way around. Put those fish on the carpet NCL! But as always, you get used to it. While I consider this a one time thing, we did get a notice on Sunday evening that ALL water would be shut off that night from around 1 am to 5-6 am. Really? Couldn't find a better time to do that? Maybe related, our last night the toilets stopped working. No one told us. I had to call and all I was told was that the problem was on several decks. That was highly annoying and a first in my cruise history. All that aside, the itinerary is jam packed. Get your rest, you'll need it. The only big watch out is the stop in Cannes, France. You have to use tender to get ashore. Be sure and reserve tender time asap. We lost 2 hours of shore time because we waited till night before to get tender time. Overall, it was a great trip. Just not the leisurely cruise through the Caribbean. There's nothing that would keep us from avoiding the EPIC but given a choice, I'd be more inclined to go on a Breakaway class ship next. There's always more to share if anyone has a specific question. Happy cruising!!! Jason Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to stay in Rome for a few days following the cruise so we opted to board there instead of Barcelona. Rome was great even though we were on the cruise during a record breaking heat wave. Embarkation went smoothly. Other cruise ... Read More
We wanted to stay in Rome for a few days following the cruise so we opted to board there instead of Barcelona. Rome was great even though we were on the cruise during a record breaking heat wave. Embarkation went smoothly. Other cruise lines hand out glasses of champagne but not this one. We were able to get to our room right away and bags were waiting. That was a plus. We didn’t make reservations for any shows . I didn’t like that aspect. I’ve not had to do that in the past on other ships but I’m sure it’s because the theatre is a lot smaller. I really didn’t like the ‘bathroom’ set up. Our adult daughter was staying in our balcony cabin so it was a bit awkward. We were told the ship was designed by the French and that is a standard design. The pools for 4000 people are ridiculously small. The adult pool has no shade to sit and with it being so hot, shade would have been nice. And it was so small that with just 5 people in it, it was FULL!! The drink package was a perk so we didn’t pay extra. There were no drinks off limits as long as it would have been less than $15/glass for mixed drinks or wine. Other cruise lines, even the drink of the day was an up charge. The way they called the shore excursions was very disorganized. The people didn’t listen to what the crew was saying about lining up and when the tender had a problem in Cannes, France which made all shore excursions leave late the poor girl (she had no crew to back her up) was doing her best to calm the crowd. All in all we had a good time on the cruise and the ports were extra special. Especially Pompeii and a side trip to Sorrento. That is one beautiful city!! The shops were nothing special. They did not sell bottles of duty free alcohol. We went to 3 specialty restaurants. Moderna is the Brazilian restaurant. 12 different kinds of meat and baked pineapple with brown sugar and cinnamon. Instead of the offered dessert we asked for the pineapple on ice cream. That was no problem and they served it with a smile. The next one was Tempanyaki. OMG. The filet mignon was sooo good. Probably the best meal I’ve ever had on a cruise ship. The last was Cagneys. The steakhouse. It was good but for my money I’d do the Japanese again and again. The main dining room, Taste, the food was good but service was slow. It took 2 hours for the meal. That’s crazy. The other main dining room was The Manhattan. Same food but service was faster. The buffet was usual. Nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We booked our cruise directly through NCL. And chose the sail away balcony option and we're assured by the booking agent that there were no obstructed view balconies on this ship. However, when we arrived we were given what they call ... Read More
We booked our cruise directly through NCL. And chose the sail away balcony option and we're assured by the booking agent that there were no obstructed view balconies on this ship. However, when we arrived we were given what they call an enclosed balcony. Let me assure you that this is an obstructed view. You can't see anything while seated on your balcony. You have to stand to see out. On day two of the trip they did switch our room to a regular balcony for which I was appreciative. However, two days later when we arrived in Barcelona they called and told us they made a mistake and that the room they moved us to was assigned to someone boarding in Barcelona and we would have to move again. I felt like I spent half my trip moving rooms We were also given erroneous information about the kids programs. While my 14 year old enjoyed his club. My 12 year old twins were highly dissatisfied with their activities. They felt very much lumped in with the younger kids. Not at all as advertised that they understand that 10 to 12 year olds need separate activities. I will never take a trip that has two separate boarding points. We boarded in Rome and were told many times that "this cruise is based Barcelona to Barcelona" So, we could only book our entertainment etc. for the first 4 nights and had to wait until Barcelona to book the last 3 nights. The big welcome aboard was on our 4th night in Barcelona. Also, my room key stopped working while in Barcelona and when I went to customer service they were closed for the muster station drill for those who boarded in Barcelona and I had to wait 45 min. to get back in my room only to be called and told we had to move rooms. But, when we had boarded in Rome we didn't have a muster station drill just a safety briefing in the theater. I could go on and on about all the things that happened because we were the minority who boarded in Rome. Bottom line if you plan on taking this cruise board in Barcelona. I found the staff to be mediocre. Other than the booking agent they were nice enough. But, not the super friendly service that I am used to on a cruise 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
This is my 5th cruise on NCL and have been every happy with the last 4. The Epic disappointed in nearly every way. 1st let's start with the things the line can no longer change like the layout of the cabins and the deck plans. The ... Read More
This is my 5th cruise on NCL and have been every happy with the last 4. The Epic disappointed in nearly every way. 1st let's start with the things the line can no longer change like the layout of the cabins and the deck plans. The bathroom situation in the cabins is beyond uncomfortable. There is no bathroom door just a curtain. When traveling with just a couple this might not be such an issue but when you have 3 in the room it's not cool plus we were with our extended family and if anyone came to our cabin while someone was using either part of he restroom you couldn't answer the door. The deck plans leave no where to walk outside on the ship other than the top decks and tou cannot walk all the way around the ship anywhere. There are no chairs for lounging outside other than the loud pool decks. On other NCL ships you can find them on other outside lower decks for a more relaxed time. I did however like the color coded elevators, that was helpful navigation for some of our older group. The stewards service was just not up to par, friendly yes but not around as much as on other ships. The coffee pot was never cleaned out from the previous guests, or the ones before that who knows. We didn't even get animal towels every night. It took 2 plus hours to eat every single night. The table on our balcony had peeling paint on nearly the entire surface and legs. The buffet closed early than normal as well. It was still light outside and he only place open to eat was O 'sheans. We boarded in Rome, while I believe that is a better itinerary it messed us over several times. They don't tell you how often you will be told "Sorry, you got on in Rome its full" or "Sorry you got on in Rome you will have to come back. Sorry you got on in Rome we are only exchanging eros for those getting off in Barcelona. Sorry you pictures from the photographer are gone, you got on in Rome". However the guy in the photo shop did spend 2 hrs searching for them. Just how I wanted to spend my last night on he ship waiting 2 extra hours for simple pictures. Oh sorry, you got on in Rome, you have to wait in line yet again to get your shore excursion credit for your Latitude rewards percentage off." I even called to ask the front desk when to do that, they didn't bother to tell me not to wait in line if I got on in Rome. "Sorry the internet isn't currently available fue to disembarking in Barcelona " The carpet on all three main floors is in desperate need of stretching or replacing and in the 2 main dining rooms as well. We were late to port and some excursions were changed and one was pretty drastic. If you didn't take the replacement they offered it was too late to pic something new so those people were just out of luck. I spoke to over 20 other families that have cruised with NCL before and have never been disappointed until Epic either! There was no comedy show but Howl at the moon was excellent the entire group 18 to 64 loved it. The balcony was larger than on other ships which is always a plus. We were also told the professional photographers would be out until 10 PM every night. Our whole group got all dressed up for 8pm photos just to find out someone told us yet again, oh it's the last night for Barcelona people to buy pics they were only out tonight until 8. The wine bottles they took from us had tape placed on the boxes and some of them RIP ruining the box. One guy picking his up in front of me had tape right over his label! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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