Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Great itinerary but disappointed in overall cruise experience

Sail Date: May 14, 2014

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

A great way to see Italy, Spain & France safely, and we feel it was a good value.  Overall the cruise was fine, with the exception of a few cons.  


Pros:  Great itinerary, decent food in complimentary dining room, clean ship, freestyle dining, entertainment

Cons:  Overcrowded public areas, push for gift shops/drinks/excursions, terrrible food & service in paid dining rooms, sold out show reservations, tendering process


Liked the freestyle dining option and found service acceptable.  Due to the port intensive itinerary the buffet was MOBBED at breakfast  (hint: get to buffet by 6-6:30 am; or order limited continental breakfast room service the night before).  Dinners in main dining rooms were enjoyable but the 2 paid dining options we chose were a waste of money with subpar food & service.  


Staff did a good job keeping the public areas picked-up and clean.  Hand sanitizing stations in front of every restaurant.  It rained on our At Sea day so the inside public areas were very crowded.  Good reason to spring for a balcony cabin!


Great free evening entertainment, esp. Blue Man.  However we found it difficult to book preferred showtimes as many were sold out.  Suggest prebooking what you can prior to embarkation.


Each port docking process was quick and easy with PA announcements.  But the tendering process was slow and ship staff was generally rude & nasty.  We had an 8:30am "reservation" but didn't actually get on the tender until almost 10:00am.  Suggest getting the 1st or 2nd possible reservation time as soon as you can.


As usual, overpriced drinks.  Suggest purchasing a discounted wine package (up to 25% off) as soon as you board...or bring your own wine and pay $15 corkage fee per bottle. We picked up local wine in each port and brought it to dinner.


This cruise had 2 embarkation/disembarkation ports - Rome & Barcelona.  The process was quick and efficient however this created some disruption in services on those two days.  Also, housekeeping cart and bag of dirty linens were outside our cabin door daily for hours.  



Ship Quality
Food and Dining
Don't waste the money on paid dining. You can get a nice, quiet table for 2 in the main dining room.
Service and Staff
Very good evening entertainment. Didn't get involved in the daytime activities
Destinations and Excursions
Very port intensive itinerary. Booked all excursions with outside companies (not NCL excursions)
Cabin / Stateroom
Compact cabin in a great location with fully covered balcony. A bit of a walk to stairs & elevator so it was pretty quiet and not much foot traffic. Lifeboats 2 decks below limit the view looking down. A privacy curtain separates the shower/toilet areas from the rest of the cabin.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Nothing to do in port area. Arrange a private car to Rome. Pre-plan what you want to do & see as it's really too much to cover in one day. Eat pasta and have espresso!
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Nothing to do in port area. Arrange a private car - take a quick stop at the Leaning Tower and spend some time in Florence. Both crowded but worth the trip. Try gelato!
Cannes, France
Tendering required (takes forever, get early reservation) Slightly snobby and lots of shopping. Everything in walking distance from port. Get something sweet from a bakery!
Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands
Beautiful laidback city. Nice walk from port but distance to city center is deceiving. Try some tapas & sangria!
Barcelona, Spain
Long line for taxis but easy walk to city center. Lots of shopping, dining. Try the hop-on/off bus for sightseeing. Buy some espadrilles. Eat paella!
Naples, Italy
Naples is okay but for an amazing day arrange a private car trip to Amalfi Coast, Sorrento. Spend time at Pomeii ruins with a guide. Eat pizza!


When in port, get to breakfast buffet early (6-6:30am) or order room service (continental breakfast only) the night before to avoid the mob scene! Heard a lot of people complaining about what was included with the adult beverage package so be sure to check before you buy.

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