May 2015 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Overall, this was a very positive experience. This was my 6th cruise, first time with Norwegian. This was my wife's 9th cruise, but also her first experience with Norwegian. Overall, the entertainment was somewhat inconsistent with some excellent performers and some that left me wishing I had stayed in my cabin. Graffiti, the Flyboys and the Beatles Tribute Band were all smashing. Legends was alright, while the Rod Stewart impersonator was first rate. Movie offerings were limited and did not take advantage of the theater facility, relying on other screen locations which were not conducive to focusing on the media. I refrained from attending some otherwise promising movies because there were too many distractions in the venues provided. Food was generally up to par with other cruise lines, although the menus in the two main restaurants, Taste and the Manhattan Club, were somewhat repetitive. I had no difficulty adjusting to the freestyle seating options although we found that some waiters were better than others and there was no way to get back to the tables where the good ones worked. Our cabin steward claimed to be a rookie on his second week with the cruise line but he was as good as or better than any we have ever had previously. NCL must train and select their stewards very well. We only did two of the optional shore excursions and both were problematic. We had tickets for the hop-on, hop-off bus in Livorno. When we got to the bus stop on shore, we discovered that there is only one bus for all five cruise ships in port and the bus that was scheduled to leave at 11:00 was already full by 10:45 and the bus would return for more passengers at noon. Really? On Mallorca, there were multiple buses to serve the hop-on, hop-off bus tour that we reserved, but when we arrived at the bus stop, the line was nearly a half block long. After 45 minutes in the hot sun, we finally got on a bus for a very interesting tour that provided a great orientation for first-time visitors to the island. We opted to take self-guided tours in Naples and Cannes, as well as a train to Rome and back from Civitivecchia. That worked for us, but we spent three days in Rome just over six months ago, so we knew exactly where we wanted to go during our limited time in the city. I would cruise with Norwegian again without hesitation. However, I would not choose them over another cruise line with a better price point for the itinerary I want to explore.