See my notes below. Rarely do I leave reviews on travel but felt this was important based on my initial expectations from traveling many other times on Cruise ships and this being the first experience on Norwegian. My wife and I don't have kids currently and won't probably try the Norwegian line again at this time. I gave it a poor experience based on expectations and the fact we felt like this was a Disney Cruise without the "WOW". The destinations however were wonderful and we got to experience great cultures, food and more during this trip while off the boat.
In spite of a few mishaps, our trip went well. After cruise day 5, the drink package issue was brought to Dawn Blue's attention, which we tried to addressed. There was absolutely no type of assistance from Norwegian even after receipt of documentation we provided, which the Guest Services Manager agreed with. Definitely no type of compensation on charges that were already incurred. Even though, we brought this issue to their attention. This is a first in my lifetime of traveling where spending over $24,500 for our group trip, something as simplistic as a drink package is not acknowledged. I find it truly amazing & even more so when you do not honor charges that was incurred of $53 as well as a speciality restaurant charge of $15. There was way too many funds spent, for something so small to become an problem. I handled the situation to the best of my ability without making continuous calls to just anyone which would continue to take to away the time I paid for as well as the services. I took care of these charges and hope I can receive compensation for something so small. Disappointed with the administrationton, the guests you say you trying to take care of ... you did not!
This is the cruise that puts all other cruises to shame. Not only are the port destinations amazing and much sought out for its the boat and crew that make this unforgetable. I don't think I ever encountered a rude or mean crew member, on the contrary everyone was always willing to help and smiling. The boat itself is larger than life and has so many things to do. Our room was the largest I have ever stayed in. The food is something also to take note of, every meal felt very well done and planned out. Thank you for such a wonderful experience!
Overall Norwegian Epic is a great new ship. I did like the freestyle cruising concept, my whole family enjoyed their swimming pool, food, and their activities.
The ship was very crowded but overall we enjoyed meeting people from different countries. Maybe it was the fact that this ship actually runs 2 cruises at once with one group departing from Rome and the other departing from Barcelona which is good and bad . Also, the food quality in their different restaurants was very good. Regarding ship staff , they were effective and friendly. I recommend this trip to everyone even the families with small kids . nice ship, great food, fair activities, overall, I have no complaints.
Very good experience, on and off ship was easy. All Epic staff were nice and friendly. Food was great! Entertainment at night could use a little fine tuning. If you didn't want to pay for entertainment, there wasn't much to choose from. We traveled with a 16 yo and 18 yo. The teen center was great for the 16 yo but not much for the 18 yo to do at night.
Got on in Civitavecchia which is not the main embarkation or debarkation port the whole setup was a mess from the lack of free shuttle to/from the train... to unmarked crusie area and no prior directions. Made it to the port and have no clue where our ship was.. wandered until we found a shuttle bus stop waited 20min to be driven in circles had there been a map or something we would have just walked.
Checked in and our room was ready yay except our luggage took another 2 hours to arrive and then it was only one of the 2 got a little anxious but decided to be patient, the other finally arrived in time for sailing off.
Our mini suite was oddly designed. In the shape of a wave with restrooms upfront followed by a couch then bed. The privacy issue as many people have mentioned is there... and the room was dirty there were crumbs all over the floor and there were screws loose all over the place. The mini fridge shelf originally was a cabinet but i guess they rethought that one and ripped out the door. Btw they lock the mini fridge the night before you get off and put all your stuff on the shelf in which case all my produce spoiled while I was on my tour.
The room was dirty when we got in but the linens were clean and we were too tired to care. There were crumbs all over the floor bits of food and a thick layer of dust on the coffee maker. The room steward was great and did everything with a smile even managed to get us towels for the pool well ahead of time.
The ship is much like the breakaway in terms of layout.
My issues with NCL were this one they nickel and dime you on everything. Juice is not included only the chemical stuff.. fresh pressed is extra. Every little thing seems to be extra. They even changed the daily service charge mid cruise.
The pools were like hot tubs small and over crowded for the amount of ppl on board it was just not ideal. I tried the slides one night around 7pm aside from the ton of kids and long lines they are poorly made and bruised my back. As for the pools well major let down I came back from an excursion and was looking forward to a cool dip only to get into what looked like a kiddie pool under the big screen in the adults only section and it was warm and filthy and with 10 ppl it was so crowded you couldn't even really move around just stand there in tepid water. The one day at sea was so crowded on deck there was not a single chair available anywhere. Honestly if I didn't have a balcony to retreat to I would have killed myself in that heat that day.
The spa fee to use the indoor amenities is $40 per person per day...absurd. They try to up-sell you on their products for 20 min before your massage cutting into the time and after they push it again.. what a pain. Also I took one of their spa deals and they charged me for the wrong promotion and I got sub par service so make sure you bring the flyer with you and they ring you up correctly. No robes are provided either which i think is lousy nor can you use the facilities after to soak you would still need to pay the $40.
Seems the on-board activities are always the same towel folding.. .drink tasting... bowling and pool at the bar at $.
Unlimited drink package wasn't very useful as had to pay the difference for certain glasses of wine and what not at the bars and dinner. Did not include the coffee and was barely utilized if you want to see the ports then i suggest the dinner package. Although that would require reservations which is tough to do when you are unsure of how exhausted you will be from your day trips.
I had a great time on my Mediterranean cruse. I would highly recommend Norwegian cruise lines. My flight from the US was cancels so I had to meet the ship in the second port. They handled it very well. I was credited for offshore tours I had booked.
I recommend purchasing day tours ahead of time. They are much cheaper. I also recommend the food add on. It general buffet was busy and can always eat there, but this option allowed me to eat in all the restaurants with no extra cost.
Norwegian also has studios on some of their ships. If you are traveling also I highly recommend this. You don't have to pay extra for traveling along. If you want to meet people they have a get together each evening at 6 or 6:30. Nice place to meet people
We loved this cruise. Food was great, room was great, excursions were great. But, entertainment on board was fairly lousy. For those who wanted something other than just a place to eat, there was a jazz club, a piano bar, a comedy club, and a karaoke bar. None of them were great. The music in the piano bar and jazz club was mediocre at best. The comedy talent was not very talented. And the karaoke bar reminded us of a small town strip club (very tacky design, with actual beds in certain parts of the seating area). These onboard activities are all great in theory but, in our opinion, were executed poorly. Also, some of the bartenders in some of the bars were not the friendliest people. We talked to some people on board who loved all of this stuff, but we definitely didn't.
Overall the Epic is a great ship. I have been on a bunch of cruises before, this was my first with Norwegian. While I did like the freestyle cruising concept, the one disadvantage I experienced was that each time we dined, we had a different server. On previous cruises, we had one wait staff and they got to know us and that to me was a better experience. I did hear one couple request a waiter so maybe on future cruises we can do the same. The food was excellent. Better than previous cruises. I'm not sure if this is based on the region we cruised in or the cruise line. The entertainment was good. My only complaint is that on previous experiences we had a new act every night and on this cruise it was the same 4 acts over and over again. Having said that, the quality of entertainment was better. We had excellent tour guides and the excursions were fantastic. Tough to beat a European vacation!
The Norwegian Epic had a great looking cabin but some of the space was not very practical. It looks as if it is newly decorated but some of the details were not passenger friendly such as the lights over the vanity were very dim. There is a small pull out ledge on which to put your tray if you order room service but there is only one ledge and only one stool for a cabin with two passengers which means one person will have to eat in the bed. There is also a charge for breakfast room service if you order anything that is not listed in the complimentary menu such as eggs!! I was also disappointed in that we attended one onboard show which was supposed to be complimentary but we were charged for it on our final bill. One other disappointment was the adults pool which was very small, maybe a 12 -20 capacity, if that; the water was also around bath temperture. But a very pretty ship.
the ship itinery was excellent . it would show who and what going on.
my suggestion for first timers is to bring your luggage aboard with them so they can change and be comfortable and not wait till 6pm for the luggage to arrive by staff, theyre to many passenger to expect luggage to be in room.
We wish the ship would have allowed us to buy pictures at a later date online. They are very expensive and most of the time at the end of the ship you have spent all your money. We know we would have bought online at a later time if we had the opportunity to do so.
Get a room near the front, the forward elevator goes right into the buffet, and don't miss the free liquor tasting each night at 8, they give out increasingly better scotch in the liquor shop each night.
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