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152 Europe - Western Mediterranean Singles Cruise Reviews

If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I ... Read More
If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I emailed MSC asking if they would hold an LGBT drinks event on the cruise, as nearly every other cruise line does. The email response did not address my question, so I rang MSC here in Australia and spoke with someone who promised to inquire and to email me back before leaving for my trip to Europe. She never did reply, and once on the cruise I realised she was likely ordered not to or simply too embarrassed by what the response would be. But this was not the only issue I had. There are so many that I'll separate them: 1) Luggage misplaced. After several hours, neither of my two bags had been delivered to my cabin. I went to the buffet and just happened to come down by the aft staircase and saw one of my bags outside of someone else's cabin (other end of my floor). 2) Being treated like a criminal. The second bag, containing my best clothes/suits/shoes and such had still not appeared so I stood in line at guest services to be told it can take some time and I should call back at 4:30 if still not received. I was obviously anxious about it given that my other bag had been left elsewhere and worried about the fact it contained very expensive clothes, not to mention I'd left my housekeys in there. At about 6 p.m. still no bag so I stood in line again. Good news! My bag had been located. But they marched me down to security, where I was interrogated by two large security guards who accused me of having smuggled a knife on board in my bag and demanded I open it. I told them that was ridiculous. That very morning I'd actually thrown out some scissors I use to trim my beard when I travel when I read in the boarding documents that even scissors aren't allowed to be brought on board. I opened my bag and took out all of my clothes. They had mistaken my housekeys for a knife, but duly searched the bag and of course there was no knife. I didn't receive an apology and they tried to blame the French port authority staff who had (supposedly) placed a sticker on the bag indicating the presence of a knife. I think this was likely a lie since there was no such sticker on the bag. I complained to guest services about my treatment and had a meeting with the manager (more on that below). Another passenger (an American) I met on board had also had a similar experience. 3) At the meeting with the guest services manager, she was very nice and apologetic. She asked me what they could do to resolve the situation. I told her I did not want anything, apart from a letter signed by a senior officer of the ship apologising for this incident so I would know that it had been taken seriously and I suggested that rather than dragging innocent passengers down to security in such a case they simply look in suspect bags to make sure that what is supposedly inside is indeed inside. She claimed she'd send that feedback on to head office. I asked if it was a legal issue they couldn't simply examine the bags themselves and she confirmed that it was instead simply MSC's policy, but she'd see if that could be changed given my experience. I then mentioned that they had also not replied to my inquiries about organising LGBT drinks and asked if they could do that and she said she'd speak to the Cruise Director and let me know. I explained that nearly every cruise line offers such a service and that as a solo traveller it's a nice way to have a chance to make friends on the ship. They did send me a bottle of Italian sparkling wine and a plate of six unappetising-looking pastries along with a generic printed card thanking me for my feedback; however, I had specifically told her I didn't want any free stuff and that I wanted an apology, so I sent them back. 4) No surprise, they refused to hold any LGBT drinks. The guest services manager I had dealt with previously even claimed it would be discriminatory against non-LGBT people to have 'special' drinks for LGBT people (despite the fact there were other private events onboard including some religious group) and, bizarrely, she also claimed that it could not be discrimination because MSC (supposedly) hosts LGBT drinks on sailings from the US. Which is it then? Their concession was to host a 'single cruise' drink event open to everyone, LGBT or not, but not identified as LGBT so other LGBT people would think to go to them. I of course did not attend as I was not looking to meet single travellers; I was looking to meet other LGBT people simply to socialise. You can't just walk up to people and ask if they're gay, even if you suspect they might be, and ask if they want to hang out. Talk about clueless! 5) The morning after leaving Morocco,, I went to the cafeteria on Deck 13 for breakfast. No sooner had I sat down than I smelled a very strong odour of burning toast. But I was not having a stroke! No, instead I noticed smoke billowing out of a toaster mere feet away. There was a table with an old couple between me and the aisle in front of the counter with the toaster. The attendant looked unconcerned and walked away. I sat there is shock and disbelief. Over the next two minutes at least four, possibly five, other ship's staff walked past this toaster (which was full on smoking by now), including a guy in engineer's overalls. After a very short time, a French-speaking lady nearby got up and ran to the counter to try to get someone's attention. The attendant had come back and then, being told the toaster was nearly on fire, she sauntered away again. The old couple got up and left and I pulled out my phone to take a video of the smoking toaster. That's when a dining room manager finally ran over to the toaster and the attendant returned with someone else. This could easily have been a fire. The next day, there was an announcement in the daily program asking passengers to pull the fire alarm or make staff aware if there was a fire (which, of course, the French lady did before I even could). Apparently, their staff can't be bothered to do so themselves; it's up to the passengers. I noted, while sitting in shock at the table, that the smoke was only a few feet from the nearest smoke detector, which did not go off -- leading me to wonder if it actually even worked. 6) The food was generally of poor quality relative to other ships. It was like cafeteria food, even in the dining room (with a couple of exceptions). The portions are also tiny, which at least makes it less likely you'll gain weight on the cruise. But you have to wonder how an Italian cruise line can't even make decent pizza or pasta. And all of the food from the buffet is cold, even the food that's supposed to be hot. 7) I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary and one of the things I was most looking forward to was taking an excursion to Granada from Malaga as I've always wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace and it seemed a convenient way to go there. But, despite MSC's website taking my booking for Granada, I found out the day before arriving in Malaga that we were not in port for long enough to complete that excursion and therefore my trip was cancelled. Of course, no one proactively told me this. I had to inquire at the excursion desk about why I hadn't received a voucher for the excursion to be told this. 8) The casino allows smoking so if, like me, you are bothered by smoke then it is a no-go zone. 9) Although they apparently think that LGBT events are somehow inappropriate, it seems that sexist entertainment is perfectly fine. The second-last show included a 'Can Can' dance at the end of which the women's near-bare bottoms are smacked by the male performers. This might be troubling enough, but what was really shocking was that the entire front row of the theatre was occupied by the children's group who were brought along to the show. The kids, ranging from I'd say 3 to about 11, were often seen about the ship together with a couple of kids' counsellors. Apparently for MSC, showing adult-themed, sexualised performances to kids is okay as long as it's heterosexual, but printing the phrase LGBT Drinks in their daily program is inappropriate/offensive (or if the guest services manager is to be believed, it's offensive in Europe, but not in the U.S.). 10) Bring your own hand sanitiser as the dispensers are routinely empty. I'd say that I managed to sanitise my hands about 25 percent of the time on entering the restaurants/buffet. The rest of the time, the dispensers were empty. I'm sure I'm still missing something, but that's probably enough to give you the idea. If I can say one nice thing about the cruise, apart from the destinations themselves, it would be that there are a few nice staff on board and especially the staff at the Il Grappolo d'Oro wine bar, which also offers appetisers from 6 p.m. on that are, frankly, the best food you'll find on the ship. If you are unlucky enough to travel on the Poesia, then make sure to go there each day as there's not much else worth eating on board and the staff there were lovely. Also, the shore excursions were excellent (even if the staff at the shore excursion desk on the ship were not), but as MSC is at pains to point out the shore excursions are not affiliated with MSC Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo ... Read More
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo Lounge is a great place to relax, and make new friends. It was always stocked with refreshments and basic breakfast food. I didn't think i would - but i loved every meal from the buffet at the Garden Cafe, and never had a problem with seating. I Loved the breakfast options at Taste and tried to have breakfast there often, but on excursion days i ate breakfast at O'Sheehan's and it was great too! My dining package covered meals at Moderno, Cagneys, Teppanyaki and La Cuchina. I enjoyed all my meals at these restaurants but the Brazilian food at Moderno was by far my favourite! Just too many options to choose from and I couldn't find enough time to try out all the other dining options on offer! The shows i enjoyed the most were Pricilla and Burn the floor! Each and every staff member i came in contact with was friendly and attentive! I had the time of my Life! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by ... Read More
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by mentioning the positive points about the ship that made my trip enjoyable. The ship is clean, well maintained and the decor is sublime. Very hard working crew. Also, very friendly when they’re allowed to be. Some great entertainment. Friendly/fun atmosphere with guests of all ages (mostly Americans) Freedom with dining times and tables in the restaurants. If you’re a solo traveller, you will love the private solo lounge and the studio, as well as the solo gathering (meet-up). I got to meet some amazing people! Now, the negative points that will definitely stop me from booking another cruise with Norwegian: If you’re a foodie person like myself and enjoy fine dining, the Epic is not for you. The complimentary dinner restaurants like the Manhattan and Taste serve similar dishes and the menu is the same every day with only one or two changes if you’re lucky. The dishes are extremely poor quality/presentation - it’s basically similar to what you would get served in a Wetherspoons. I found that a lot of the food was too salty to eat. You’ll also notice that some dishes have lost their original flavour due to being defrosted and not prepared fresh. The buffet in the evening has better quality and variety but stays the same for the most part. You might be impressed the first and second day but after that you’ll be bored of eating the same thing over and over again. The drinks package is not worth it unless you just want to get drunk and don’t care about the options or quality of what you’re drinking. The wine, cocktails, soft drinks are all the cheap, non-branded stuff. If you want good wine you’ll have to pay extra. A fresh squeezed orange juice or even bottle of water costs extra too, which I thought was a joke. The crew seem to be under a lot of stress and sometimes it’s like they can’t breathe. I’m quite friendly and love chatting to people who work on board even for just a few seconds. I’m aware they have plenty to do but it just shows some appreciation and it can help to break up their day by even asking them how are they. The problem is they don’t seem to be allowed to make small talk with guests! I noticed crew members seemingly looking distracted a few times and it turned out that they were looking around in case their manager caught them talking to me. It really put me off that the crew are treated very poorly, especially compared with staff members who are separate and do seem to have a bit more freedom. It actually upset me when I asked a couple of staff members why they couldn’t talk and the suggestion was they were working under military rules and could get fired any minute. No wonder they hire a lot of people from developing countries! Managers on the cruise lied to me! I wanted to stay an extra 4 days on board as I had a swollen ankle and didn’t want to travel on it. I was given a price which I was happy with but then told the next day that no rooms were available. I tried to say that I didn’t mind which room I stayed in and that I’d be happy to pay extra money but the answer was still a no. Imagine my surprise then, when I saw on the website that rooms were available! I was truly disappointed and felt like I was chasing them to take my money. In the end, despite knowing I could actually book through their website and stay I decided to keep my money and endure the pain of a 5-6 hour journey home with my ankle still swollen. For me, those are the main points, although some more would be: Poor medical centre service when my ankle got swollen. The Internet doesn’t work at all so don’t even bother buying it. A lot of extreme loud alarms go off every single morning! Toilets not flushing seemed to be a common problem. If you order room service, bear in mind you’ll have to wait 1 hour even if it’s just for a bottle of water. The entertainment is good but was very repetitive. Entertainment at the atrium and pool was poor. Tiny, shallow swimming pools. The lady who works at the second Manhattan restaurant desk and looks for an available table for you was truly unhelpful and cheeky. Overall, if it wasn’t for the hard-working crew and some amazing people on board I would’ve definitely had the worst time ever. Basically, once they have your money, they don’t care if you’re coming back or not, or if you’re happy or unhappy. So if you’re young, don’t care about fine dining and just want to party, this cruise might be for you. However, if you’re a foodie person and love variety in your meals, good wine, a good chat with people (even those who who work onboard) and enjoy different shows/music, this cruise is definitely a no. Day 1 on the Epic: This is amazing!! I’m booking my second cruise the second I get home. Last day: Never gonna be back! Back home: Booked 2 cruises for next year….with P&O! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The roomservice was exellent. Housekeeping spoke very good English. She took really good care of guests. I was travelling solo, and the whole crew of the ship took really good care of me. The whole crew called me Madame. I dont like ... Read More
The roomservice was exellent. Housekeeping spoke very good English. She took really good care of guests. I was travelling solo, and the whole crew of the ship took really good care of me. The whole crew called me Madame. I dont like shows so much, and luckily the was a place on the ship where 2 gitarists sung songs from the last 30 years. I really enjoyed it, they played like pro's. Food was really great, and all the crew was flexible to my wishes. I had a really good time from I landed on the airport in Barca, and got picked up by Costa. I went on one tour, to Monaco. The guide talked really good English, and was so good explaining the history and odd points about Monaco. The ship was very good organized, the crew was excellent. The best cruise I ever been on. I would do this again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up ... Read More
I have done one cruise before with Disney and travelled with 3 friends, one couple who cruise often on Explorer of the Seas, and one complete newbie. Embarkation was a breeze, although our email we received days before said to show up between 14:30 - 15:30. We left our AirBnB in Barcelona at maybe 10:15, and were at the port shortly after. We snuck in with our friends who were in a junior suite although we were only in a CP View cabin and were given group one and told it would be a 45 minute wait or so for boarding to commence. But we were happy to have group 1. However maybe 10 minutes later they started calling group 1. By the time we made it to the elevator to the gangway they were already saying group 1-25!!! So really fast boarding. I am a complete newbie to the Oasis Class, but I did get a feeling the cruise wasn't by any means sold out though. Which would make sense at the end of the Summer season like this. The ship was impressive and lived up to the hype of the Oasis class. One thing I had read online and also that my friends who cruise on other ships also noticed along with myself is that the ship really is very interior focused, and even the few spaces on the main decks that do have windows/portholes for some reason have frosted or vinyl'd over glass. You could easily go a day on this ship and maybe only see the water once or twice. Even though the ship was two weeks away from a major dry dock and her amplification, she was in pretty good condition. Only a few niggles with the lifts sometimes not responding to button pushes. We did a few finger wipes in nooks and crannies in public areas and every-time were impressed with the cleanliness. Our cabin was fine for the two of us, although other than speaking with our steward(ess) about having our beds separated the first night, we did not really interact with her again. Dining was average in the main dining room if I am honest. It wasn't to Disney standards, and my Carbonara one night was particularly congealed which was disappointing. The wait team in the MDR were brilliant though. We also did Izumi which was great. And 150 Central Park, where the food was good, but the atmosphere and staff were a little lacking. Entertainment wise the main shows were great. Cats was a great production, but I do not understand why RCI thought this would be a good fit for the casual audience of a cruise ship. Many people left before the show even made it to the end of act 1, and even less came back. The Ice show was also great. Come fly with me made zero sense, but the cast were great. One night we ended up really enjoying which we hadn't expected to was the 70's party night in the Promenade. It just clicked and the place really came alive and everyone seemed to have a great time. Overall the service could be a bit lacking and maybe this is because the crew knew it was the end of the season and they have one more cruise after ours then a long dry dock. But that is really no excuse, in particular every time I used the Solarium Bar, I was served by the same server who seemed very unfriendly and uninterested. Shore excursions we did just one official RCI one which was Aix on your own, so it was really a commentated coach ride in and then we did our own thing (in the pouring rain sadly). Majorca was a great stop, although quick. but for me Cinque Terre at La Spezia was a highlight, stunning scenery and a great walk between two of the towns. Naples was foul, we took a train to Pompeii, but if I did another cruise that stopped in Naples, I would stay on the ship. Overall it was a good introduction to RCI, and great to be able to brag at having done one of the largest ships in the world, and the first of the famous Oasis class. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. ... Read More
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. The positives are its an older ship but has some great venues and bars which makes the personnel touches better than the bigger ships and it proved no different from our previous sailings. The services from the bars and restaurant staff were excellent. The professional entertainment was excellent although some of the best act were too late in the evening. We read on an informative letter in our cabin on arrival that they listen to the cruise feedback reviews. They had decided they would let children use the adult pools which I’m not sure was thought through. We like the lido pool on deck 9 it has a children’s pool but they all used the adult pool. Not supervised by staff and parents and just basic chaos all week. Jumping,pushing,shoving,inflatables the size of a person. Water guns the size of cannons firing all over the deck. We are not stick in the muds we have 3 children who don’t behave in this fashion. Three times we complained to reception and all we got back was they are the same throughout the ship. Ruined the holiday and experience. The sail away party the life and sole of these cruises was ruined by the life safety drill taking place at 10.00 in the evening which is unheard off. The food which was always the stalwart of the Dream has gone backwards!! Repetitive basis offering and the sweet selection was really poor. The Cruise Director spent more time trying to sell upgrades than actually information around the entertainment. The 2 hour flight delay coming and 5 hour delay going back didn’t help either. This is our 2nd Marella cruise this year which hasn’t come anywhere near expectations with delays and standards going backwards.one of the biggest frustrations is trying to get your voice heard. The Tui App on the ship is loaded with questions they want to hear rather than anything they don’t. The questionnaire they send you is just as frustrating and if you criticising too much will not let you complete. Prices going up and standards going down. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Positive: Everything was perfect. Embarking and disembarking was very smooth. I was expecting crowded places especially in restaurants where you can't find table. But nothing happened, there are always free tables. They always ... Read More
Positive: Everything was perfect. Embarking and disembarking was very smooth. I was expecting crowded places especially in restaurants where you can't find table. But nothing happened, there are always free tables. They always refill the food before finish. You can take the food with you in your cabin.free Drinking water all the time is available. Remember free fruit juices are only available in breakfast . The show in theatre is amazing. You won't miss any show. You will see all people excited with show and no one leaves before the end. The decoration is amazing and modern. The shopping in the ship are not too much expensive. sometimes they make big sales. They clean the cabin twice a day. Nigative: The worst thing in the ship you don't like it is elevators. You will wait longtime. I suggest to use stairs for those they don't have kids. The elevators in the ship have different system. You have to choose which floor you want to go befor coming. It will shows in the screen which elevator you have to take otherwise you don't find any press inside the elevators. Services charge will add during your stay. Sometimes they add something more like photos gallery although you don't ask for it. One thing personally happened to me. I am telling that to warn others Tow sunglasses was disappeared In my cabin. One for me and the other for my wife. I am sure we don't loose them somewhere else. And small amount of local money that I don't put it in safety box. I discovered about my money when I arrived home. I don't expect anyone interested of local money. So be careful with your stuff. I am very sad about my sunglasses. Both of them was a new. One of them worth 400$ (tiffany & co). One of them disappeared the second day of my stay. The other maybe fifth or sixth. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Booked this cruise months in advance, all inclusive was a standard but we decided to pay £50 for a premium all inclusive which was well worth it. From the beginning our embarkation was quick and easy, obviously had to queue but nothing ... Read More
Booked this cruise months in advance, all inclusive was a standard but we decided to pay £50 for a premium all inclusive which was well worth it. From the beginning our embarkation was quick and easy, obviously had to queue but nothing unreasonable. We immediately got settled into our cabin on Deck 7, which was a nice size, with two comfortable single beds, a small sofa and table, a desk with chair and mirror, two wardrobes with a full body mirror on one of the doors and a bathroom with toilet and shower. The bathroom includes a hairdryer which is decent but not very powerful. Our rooms got cleaned every day, with towels changed if needed, staff kindly fold up your clothes and make animals out of the towels which was a very nice gesture. There was a great choice of restaurants, breakfast buffet at either Sirens or Lido is the kind you would expect from any all inclusive package holiday, nice but nothing special. Orien restaurant is the only fancy restaurant which is part of the all inclusive package but the a la carte restaurants only cost about £18 for a three course meal. There is food available throughout the whole day at different restaurants, so if you are ever hungry you can eat either from the buffet or the terrace grill. There was even a late night buffet from 11.30 - 1am. Many different activities to get involved in throughout the ship, including the casino, bingo, late night disco, card games or the broadway lounge and even if you don't fancy any of those things you can always listen to the live music at the Tides Bar or Waters Edge. Every single member of staff on the ship was an absolute sweetheart. Ports are very lovely, but don't feel pressured to book your excursions in advance because you get way more options once you are actually on the ship and you end up meeting people which you would like to go on excursions with anyway. Some of the excursions are not worth the money, so make sure you research carefully what they actually provide for you on the excursion and whether you have any alternative cheaper options. Me and my bestfriend went alone, we are both 18, despite everyone saying that it's a holiday for older people and that we were better of going to a villa in somewhere like Greece like the majority of people our age, we chose to come on the cruise anyway and had an absolutely amazing time. You definitely get your money's worth with the drinks package and the bartenders are always so nice and friendly. We never had a boring moment on that ship and got to meet amazing people, we are already looking to book our next one for next year. We highly recommend a cruise with Marella Dream, no matter what age you are. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
There is no doubt Celebrity Edge looks good. All those Kelly Hoppen greys and beiges. But does it feel good? Well not to this seasoned traveller. Celebrity have made a great effort to lower the age demographic of their passengers. They ... Read More
There is no doubt Celebrity Edge looks good. All those Kelly Hoppen greys and beiges. But does it feel good? Well not to this seasoned traveller. Celebrity have made a great effort to lower the age demographic of their passengers. They have succeeded - but I think at the expense of the older guest. Take the bars: I want a comfortable lounge to enjoy a drink. The biggest bar is the Martini Bar on Deck 3 but the seating is on the edge of a three-deck high atrium. Yes it looks impressive. But it feels cold and impersonal. The nicest space is the Al Bacio coffee bar lounge on Deck Four. I took to getting a drink from the casino bar (also on deck four) and carryimng it through to the Al Bacio lounge. So I noticed did others. In fact Al Bacio does serve some limited drinks in the evenings and the solution would be to open it as a full bar plus coffee after say 6 o'clock. I and many others in my age group like to hear a pianist or a classical duo. Alas - Edge is an almost non-stop diet of over amplified pop music. Even worse there are designer muzak tapes on a loop in the restaurants - designed presumably by someone who didn't try listening to them every day. The atmosphere on the Magic Carpet - the bit that hangs over the side- was much better. For one thing -- being outside you couldn't hear the music. It is an idyllic place for those balmy evenings in the Med. I got that "all fur coat and no knickers" feel about the Speciality restaurants - especially Eden. It is approached via a dark mirror glass room, negotiating a series of twisted floor-to-ceiling columns and lit only by twinkling ceilng lights. What's that all about? And Aquaclass passengers dining in Blu have to pass through this for every meal. The food itself was good though not exceptional and it certainly wasn't helped by being served by a girl dressed in rags and a man, also in rags, wielding a stick. Adam and Eve? Caliban? Le Petit Chef and friends features overhead projections of animated figures dancing on your plates as they prepare each course. Entertaining - certainly. But sadly the animation food looked a sight better than the food we actually received. Neither restaurant was worth the extra money. On the plus side - the three main non-paying restaurants were all excellent. Great friendly service, a wide choice of dishes all very well presented and tasty. And no gimmicks.The a la carte breakfast in the Cosmopolitan (I think) was particularly enjoyable and a better choice for me than the scrum at the buffet! The cabins are very well designed in general. But I was in a single cabin (and God Bless Celebrity for thinking positively about we solo travellers), Again the Hoppen influence looked good- but there was enough hanging space for clothes but only one shelf (under the safe) and no drawers. What to do with the smalls? And the plus side: The best shower I've ever found on any ship - proper walk-in, no clingy curtains and a powerful spray. Bliss. The single-panel control for everything including the excellent air conditioning, the window and the blinds, was a definite plus and the ability to transform the cabin into an infinity balcony was fun. Other pluses: Embarkation at Civitaveccia was a dream. Almost straight aboard and keys waiting outside the cabins. Disembarkation was equally smooth with lots of staff on hand to guide us all to the correct buses. And as always the biggest plus of all - the cheerful, efficient , friendly staff who are keeping this ship spotlessly clean and who do put the customer first. Especially the younger customer! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ... Read More
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ship is clean and beautiful. There are many nice pools and hot tubs, so they were not crowded (yet they close them all down early which is irritating). The bed was comfortable and the room quiet. The food in the buffet was just okay (deserts were good), better than Carnival, but the food in the dining room was much worse than carnival. And now I move on to the bad things... Eating in the dining room on Carnival was a great experience we looked forward to every night, but on MSC it felt like a punishment. Usually the food was not good and the waiters also made us feel uncomfortable and unwanted. They do not have "anytime dining" like other ships, you have to pick 6 PM, 8 PM or 10 PM. They kick you out after an hour or so to get ready for the next crowd. They are always rushing around in a hurry yet take forever to bring the food. We waited an hour for our first course one time, then had 15 minutes to eat the rest and get out. It is loud and there is constant banging from the dumbwaiter bringing down food. We asked to be switched to a different time and got a better waiter and location after the switch. I cannot believe they charge you for water in the dining room! Water was free on Carnival. Which is my next complaint, they are constantly after more money. They pester you all the time to buy the drink and food packages. The drink package would have cost $700 for the two of us ($40 a day). If you're drinking $700 in alcohol in one week you have a problem. We spent $80 on drinks, that's it. The food package would have cost around $260 for 3 meals for the two of us. That's seems high for mediocre food. The worst experience by far were the excursions! DO NOT book a tour. Have them bus you and walk around on your own. The tour company they use in Italy is a nightmare! We were not given all the things promised in Pisa and Rome. In Rome they lost an elderly man and left him there. Don't know if he ever made it back to the ship. I did not listen to the tour guides speak, they are hard to understand. Our English speaking guide hardly said anything anyway. The guides have deals with shops to take you there so you will buy things, like the "Pearl Factory" they said we needed a ticket to get into. It was a jewelry store! Nothing more, and it is free to go in. They wasted my time with this stuff. I felt very ripped off over the excursions. The internet was poor, and we had a router right outside our room. The zip-line cost $12 a person and is boring. It should be free! The constant up-selling is just a nightmare. We have decided not to go on MSC again because of these issues. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I sailed on Rhapsody back in October this year and was so happy to return.The ship has a wonderful crew so many remembered me and made me feel so welcome to be back. Cabin 7073 was looked after by a kind man called Norman. To name a few ... Read More
I sailed on Rhapsody back in October this year and was so happy to return.The ship has a wonderful crew so many remembered me and made me feel so welcome to be back. Cabin 7073 was looked after by a kind man called Norman. To name a few crew members to say thank you to Paul and Willeth in the R bar nice to catch up. Food i thought was as last time really good in the main dining and the Windjammer. What can i say about the entertainment Elvis cruise director wow thanks so funny so entertaining from watching the dance classes, 70's disco and Carols amazing enjoyment. Music in the atrium by everyone was really good again Service was as before in my opinion second to none as the last time thank you. Everyone for me was still the same caring crew wanting to make my vacation special. The itinerary was good but i missed a couple of ports due to an injury but this men't i could enjoy my time on Rhapsody and share sometime wonderful guests who stayed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings ... Read More
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings waters supply. Totaly terrible services the dinnig room foods were not foods just junkies . Terrible and horrible services . THe ship were gay desert queen just not foe family . Lousy shows its needs to be up graded or changes . the vendors macines were not working for the whole trips no one care about that .Foods services on the ship were just not not enough to eat . JUst terrible and horrible . I would not recommended anyoe to go on board for just a horrible ship. . By the wat in board the ship announced FREE bout it was not everythings needs to pay .The entrtainments just horrible noy na good shows to terrible shows for everyonre. Noe I found a good way to expressed myslf to everyone who like Western Med regions , Please don't go to Norweegian Epic that all.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This is our 5th RCL cruise, we have travelled on Allure, Oasis and a smaller boat. The big ships are so fun, with so many options of things to do for everyone. We were on expedited check in which took literally the time to walk to the ... Read More
This is our 5th RCL cruise, we have travelled on Allure, Oasis and a smaller boat. The big ships are so fun, with so many options of things to do for everyone. We were on expedited check in which took literally the time to walk to the boat. We did not have to wait at all. The first day on all ships I always find busy, there are so many people walking around confused, trying to find their way etc etc. You just have to know that when you arrive that there may be a few people in the way. We didn't find at any time that it was over crowded or too busy. We always could find a table at the buffet, there was always tons of food choices and it all for the most part was fresh and warm. We didn't eat too much at the sit down formal dinners only because we enjoyed more time in the hot tub that always seemed to make us late for dinner. The windjammer is always good for many choices. For sure it does get repetitive after a 10 day cruise but that would be the same for any resort or cruise. The shows are great, Hairspray definitely the top. I enjoyed the aquatheater shows more on the allure and oasis than the symphony but that doesn't take anything away from the performance. Flight was a bit confusing and not at the top of my choices. The stand up comedian never disappoints and really enjoyed the two shows he hosted. We take part in a lot of the activities. The flowrider is awesome and so fun. The waterslides which are an addition on this ship are actually quite well done. I thought they would be slow kid waterslide but definitely not. Bit freaky but fun for sure!! There are always a ton of options. If you are bored on this ship you are boring....there is always something going on. Lastly the service was awesome. Erwin our stateroom attendant was so awesome and really ensures we were taken care of. The staff on the ship always had smiles on and were so kind. Gain I dont agree with peoples comments in other reviews about the staff. They must be walking around with a frown. It would be super tough to do a cruise in general with a baby or young children. Unless you can afford a large suite. For two people a balcony stateroom is quite spacious. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
SAIL THE THREE SEAS the itinerary that called me to sail on the Marella Celebration, reviewed separately. For me it all started with a 45 mile drive down the A1 at silly o’clock for the 06:50 Boeing 737 from Donny (DSA) to Dubrovnic ... Read More
SAIL THE THREE SEAS the itinerary that called me to sail on the Marella Celebration, reviewed separately. For me it all started with a 45 mile drive down the A1 at silly o’clock for the 06:50 Boeing 737 from Donny (DSA) to Dubrovnic (DBV) and a half hour coach transfer along the stunning Dalmatian coast. I must at this point thank all the other reviewers who said SIT ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE COACH. As the port cam into sight Cele was dwarfed by the MSC Lirica and Aida Blu The sail away form Dubrovnic was accompanied by music form the outrageously talented MUSIK UNLIMITED for a day at sea down to Celebrations flag port of Valetta, Malta I was pre-booked one both Malta Highlights tour which was a little disappointing due to quite heavy rain. Seabourn Odissey in Port Day 4, Messiina Sicily and the trip of the day was the Godfather Villages for me and I bought an umbrella opposite the world famous Bar Vitelli a today it was torrential. Day 5, Argostoli, Kefalonia, no trip today I decided to have a port day and just mooch around I caught the Red Train for a tour of the city. Weather was overcast but warm and more importantly DRY Day 6, Ingoumenitsa, Greece a glorious day and trip 3 to Necromantia and Parga in. My opinion we would have been better going straight to the picturesque Parga and having more time to explore and enjoy Day 7 up at 5 o’clock for the sail into Kotor in Montenegro - well I say five o’clock my iPhone had not changed the time from Greek so up at four it was then and failed to see the German U-boat pens, breakfast and off on the full day tout Highlights of Montenegro the highlight of which was transiting the road known as the 25 serpents. What a stunning country Day 8 wake up and we are back in Dubrovnik The ret of the time aboard being taken up eating, drinking and watching the excellent productions put on by the show team, I must say my favourite was the Broadway Shows extravaganza the finale being from Les Miserable and the last time I had seen it sung was by the Barricade boys, all of whom have sung the part in the West End, The Marella show team rendition was certainly equal to that Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 ... Read More
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 it is jam packed with all the things you would expect and much much more, beautiful public areas, cabins and large pool area, first class entertainment, show lounge is more like West end theatre and shows are breath taking, nice adult only deck to escape the lively pool area if needed, plenty of choice of food which was amazing. Had last meal at Kora Li Asian infusion restaurant, paid extra but so worth it, food, presentation and service were excellent. All the staff were verý friendly, welcoming and helpful, amazing cruise, amazing ship, would highly recommended. Fantastic value for money. Would definitely book with Marella again. My only criticism would be the high prices in the on board Champneys spa. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how ... Read More
My family, along with 15 others, chose to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays on a new cruise ship....Symphony. We spent a day in Barcelona before boarding the ship, from Taxi to our stateroom 20 minutes. I was so blown away by how efficient the embarkment process was for all of us. Highlights: *We chose an inside stateroom, because, we are normally in the room 5 hours a day. Three adults and one large piece of luggage each and we had plenty of space. In May, two of us will share an outside view since there is so much sailing. *Dining main dining room service and food was fabulous! I have to say past poor reviews made me really attentive to quality and taste. We were very pleased. My gluten intolerant daughter was treated like a queen; she preordered her meals for the next night. If she chose to eat outside the dining room she was given Suresh Suyai, the head waiter's business card to get any assistance she needed. Min and Kevin were our table hosts. They were courteous, timely and funny! They recognized our anniversary with a cake and saw that all of our personal needs were taken care of. The head chef also came to the table to make sure we were pleased with our meals. *Gallery Brunch and Tour was more than a tour of massive proportion. My husband and I now truly appreciate the hard work of the kitchen and main dining staff, as well as the room service staff. Everyone should go on this tour and it should be offer at the beginning of the cruise to appreciate the operation of the dining facilities. *Staff: Adson was our server at Chops Grill. He was so pleasant and accommodating we cancelled our plans in the Main Dining room, to eat with him again. When we arrived it was clear he was working somewhere else and appeared within minutes to serve us. We would have preferred that he dined with us. He was took his role seriously, even though, he could be a comedian. His interactions with us sold us on specialty dining. We hope he is on our next cruise! *The ship was incredible! Everyone in our party from 21 years to 55 years loved the bars, casino, pool, dance clubs, spa and ships activities! *Excursions we went on the Palma De Mallorca city tour- the tour guide was very knowledgeable and humorous. Rome express train tour was perfect. It took us to the Vatican City and we were on our own for 6 hours. *Deluxe drink package was easy with the wristband, which should be free, but it's $4.99. I believe we came out ahead compared to purchasing each beverage separately. Before each excursion we would get Red bull and bottled water or coffee. As I stated, I'm anxious to invite my friends on the May 2019 trip out of Miami. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate ... Read More
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate just fine! As a solo traveller I was in the studio cabins and I was super happy with my room and the solo lounge. Our coordinator Ruby did a great job of bringing us together and although I didn’t see the entire group every night I had a base of friends I could spend my time with each night. My only recommendation is that dinner was too early at 6pm after a long day of excursion where I would literally arrive at 5:30. The excursions were amazing and well worth the price, I had some great tour guides which made the experience for me. The ship was beautiful and my favourite locations were Maltings Bar, older crowd and great drinks by Joseph! Shakers had amazing martinis and O’Sheehans was good for a late night snack or breakfast on the way to my excursion. In terms of food, I would say it was good not great and my favourite dinner location was The Manhattan Room and Cagney’s was great for a steak if you have the specialty restaurant package or just want to splurge was well worth it! Overall I had an amazing experience, met some great people and will definitely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise for several reasons. 1. Itinerary, following the Adriatic coast I felt it would be more likely to be a smooth sail and the sea would be calm. ( I am not a good sailor). 2. The stop ports were places I hadn't ... Read More
I chose this cruise for several reasons. 1. Itinerary, following the Adriatic coast I felt it would be more likely to be a smooth sail and the sea would be calm. ( I am not a good sailor). 2. The stop ports were places I hadn't been to before. This was my first time on a cruise and I traveled as a single woman. I arrived after an early morning flight. The check in was easy, quick photograph taken and given card for boarding in a flash. Everything was so organised and I felt that continued throughout the cruise and included departure at the end. The dining was fabulous, especially the main restaurants, with waiter service for breakfast lunch and dinner. Food was really good and well presented, menu changed every day. Italian on upper level fabulous too. Given a pager at busy times, so just went for a drink until table ready. Sharing a table meant that it was quicker to get a table and a great way to meet new people and chat. Didn't manage the A la Carte restaurants as they were booked up very quickly. The buffet restaurant has lots of choices but can be very busy, only went in there for breakfast and also lunch on first arrival but enjoyed it. I attended a singles meeting on the second day organised by the crew hostess. Lovely new friends made, and in particular one friend, that enabled us to do things together including trips ashore and evenings at different entertainment spots. So much to do and still didn't manage all the entertainment on board. My cabin had a window and a lovely comfy double bed, loved it, and a really good steward, who looked after me and my room. So much to say I could go on and on. The singing from the entertainers was superb. The places and excursions are amazing. I had 3 nights after the cruise at a hotel in Corfu, because as much as I loved it, It can be very tiring and hard on the joints. It was wonderful way to end an incredible holiday. The ship is gorgeous! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Anyone that has read any reviews written by myself knows that i really love RCI and Symphony was just amazing, the ship is just WOW. The layout, colours, design and a few different features make this ship so different from Oasis, Allure ... Read More
Anyone that has read any reviews written by myself knows that i really love RCI and Symphony was just amazing, the ship is just WOW. The layout, colours, design and a few different features make this ship so different from Oasis, Allure and Harmony all of which are amazing in themselves. My Cabin was 10319 over looking the Broad Walk i loved it i have never had a cabin like this. My wonderful stateroom attendant Grafton Cain was great thank you. I so enjoyed having the main dining room back it is truly lovely and the service from Amid and Rossette were great. The menu was similar in many ways to what i have had before and i found the food to be really good.The Windjammer could be very busy i am told and i did see a few queues. The times i enjoyed the food for lunch in the Windjammer was a lovely experience again great staff and service really good. One note is there seems to be a little less choice to choose from than on other ships. This didn't worry me as i found the standard of the food to be really good. Park cafe was again really good as normal i had the lovely steak roll and of course a glass of Red from the Trellis bar. I found the food every where to be really enjoyable. I cannot comment on any of the speciality restaurants but from what i saw they were busy and people seemed to really enjoy the experience. I only saw the Aqua show which seemed amazing i watched this from my balcony cabin with a slight obstruction from the slides from the Abyss but still amazing you have to see this show. Other people told me they loved the Ice show, other singers bands and entertainers were really good. The service was great through out meeting up with Semuel Sabastio from the Trellis Bar and Erwina in Vintages ( wow I so enjoy Vintages) it was great catching up with them again. Symphony is just amazing with a few new features like Play Makers for example you have to see the HOT WING eating contest. The Diamond lounge was never busy and we had some lovely food for breakfast lunch (similar to Cafe promenade) and some lovely small bites in the evening If this is your first cruise or you have sailed on many cruises i think that you will enjoy Symphony. This ship offers an amazing experience Central park is one of my most memorable places especially in the evening. Thank you Royal for this most amazing time on Symphony. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018

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