February 2016 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean
I chose this cruise because 10 other friends had already booked and my elderly mother was desperate to go on a cruise.
The initial signs were not good! The queue to board the ship at Barcelona was monstrous, and it was very difficult for my Mum (elderly and frail) to stand for over an hour waiting to be processed. There appeared to be no fast track system for elderly or disabled guests and, had we taken this cruise later in the year, I doubt my Mother would have been able to stand for an hour in hot temperatures waiting to board. This could have been better organised, with every guest given a boarding slot.
I booked a stateroom on Deck 9 for the duration, and was pleased with the quality of the room but did find it all a bit of a squash (I get more room travelling Commodore Class on a France to UK cross channel ferry!).
I'll start with the moans (which are few). I paid a hefty fee for internet access but most of the time was unable to gain wi-fi access from my cabin, and most of my precious paid minutes were taken up with logging in and off (which could take up to 10 minutes). This was a problem experienced by everyone in my party. The staff member in charge of internet access was often less than helpful, frequently unavailable and (in my opinion) could do with a crash course in providing pleasant customer service.
My only other complaint is about the DJ in the Bliss Lounge. We would turn up for the themed music nights, for example the 1980's night. Everyone was up and dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves, when abruptly the music was changed to "adult" from 11pm. At this point the dance floor would empty of guests, leaving just the staff to dance on! The DJ seemed to have no empathy with his audience, nor any ability to suit his music to the age of those present. Music requests were simply ignored. The last night "party" in this bar was a complete disappointment & most of us left after 30 minutes, finding the Piano Bar much more agreeable.
On the plus side the voyage was exceedingly good fun, with lots of choices of places to eat and things to see and do. I cannot fault the restaurants, especially Le Bistro, for mass catering the food was of good quality and the restaurant staff were very helpful and friendly. The shows were excellent - so much so that we went to The Cirque performance twice.
We found the advertised excursions somewhat expensive so booked our own trips to Pisa, Pompei independently, at a fraction of the price.
Our own Housekeeping Manageress was outstanding - brilliant service and always with a smile.
All in all I would cruise on this ship again IF I were given a guarantee that internet access would not be so awful! This is a good fun cruise, with lots to see and do, and no necessity to dress up to the nines each and every evening - so very relaxing.