October 2015 - 7 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Epic
Who can complain about the selection of ports visited on this cruise?? Fabulous! We did shore excursions via NCL at each port and, while most of what we did involved a lot of walking around in tour groups with an earphone, it was an efficient way to see quite a bit of what each stop had to offer (most stops seemed to offer DIY types of experiences as well).
At the end of each day, we arrived back at our Haven suite (Deck 14) to a pleasant little pre-dinner nibble along with the cocktail that we had picked up at one of the very accessible bars on board.
One disappointment with the ship is that we couldn't find a deck that completed a circle around the ship for walking and enjoying the ocean views and clear breezes. Even the jogging track is an odd construct of a less than half deck loop on one of the lower diesel smelling levels.
Beware of the internet service. I only could get service on my own device after 1:00am even though I was on the unlimited program.....at all other times I just got spinning and spinning and spinning circles. Other folks I talked to in the internet café were there to complain about the same kind of experience.
Dining was fine - we tried the Manhattan dining room once and it was as expected for this kind of venue. All of the specialty dining settings and menu selections were varied. Hard to say which one was better. La Cucina was our least favorite, due to the odd location, bouncy feeling due to the being near the front of the ship and lackluster service. Cagneys and Tepanyaki were probably our favorites - try the unfiltered sake at Tepanyaki if you like sake - most interesting.
Shows were good - Saw the Cirque show - had great seats on the floor - a bit hard to eat and watch at the same time. From what we saw it looked like the booth tables at the back might have some limitations in the view - try to get a table on the floor so you can see it all
The Queen of the Desert show is quite long so be prepared.
Performers for all shows were athletically talented (amazing agility, endurance and professional appearance - you really have to say kudos to folks dancing on and on or bending in the most flexible of ways as you sit and eat and drink and drink and eat).
Our favorite entertainers by far were the Dueling Piano guys and the nightly pianist at the Shakers Bar.
Soccer and rugby matches on the huge screen in the main atrium were also quite fun.
Bottom line - a great itinerary makes sailing on a so-so ship a wonderful vacation.