November 2015 - 7 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Epic
A very good cruising experience. Don't let the outer appearance discourage you.
To me, the Epic is one of the worst looking cruise ships afloat. But once on board, her inner beauty really shines. Everywhere we went, the ship was clean and well maintained. The staff is one of the most friendly we have ever experienced.
We had the ultimate dining package, so we ate dinner in specialty restaurants every night, except for Embarkation Day.
On Embarkation Day we went to O'Sheehan's for the Prime Rib dinner, and it was great. A nice sized portion, and very tasty.
For Specialty Restaurants, we visited Cagney's twice, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Moderno, and Teppanyaki once each. At every one of them, the food and service was excellent.
We ate Breakfast in Taste 3 times, and every time something was messed up. Either our order was made incorrectly, or something was forgotten.
The Garden Buffet is just what you would expect from a buffet, long lines, food selections that get old after the second time there, food quality that is fair to good, and very hard to find a seat.
O'Sheehan's was hit or miss. We ate there 4 times total. The food was good, but the service was lacking. For instance, we never had an occasion where the waitstaff came by to ask if we needed our drinks re-filled. They sometimes seemed disinterested in what they were doing.
The only stage show we watched was Priscilla, and it wasn't very good. The music was the best part. The story line, at times, was hard to follow, and the choreography was only fair.
The rest of the entertainment was pretty good. Using the Atrium as a venue for some of the game shows, like The Perfect Couple, didn't work real well. There isn't enough seats, and some of the sight lines are pretty bad. The Epic Theater would be a better choice. For something like Deal Or No Deal or Bingo, where you only need to be able to see the big screen, it works quite well.
Having the stand up comedian in Headliners is perfect. It's just like going to a local Comedy Club at home. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and being close to the performer makes the experience more intimate and enjoyable.
Some of the traditional shows like Not So Newlywed Game and Quest weren't even scheduled, and sorely missed.
The Epic Casino is very nice. Plenty of tables and laid out quite well. The staff is very friendly and professional. Unlike what many people complain about in reviews, we did not notice any problem with cigarette smoke. It was practically non-existent.
This cruise is very port intensive, with only one sea day. In Palma there really isn't much to see or do. In my opinion, they could skip the Palma stop, and have another Sea Day after Civitavecchia, or spend a second day in port, as there is way more to see in Rome than you can cover in one day. The rest of the ports are great.
I gave an overall score of very good instead of excellent because of the cabin layout, the missing shows, and the problems with Taste.