Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

Experience
4-6 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
6

4 out of 5

First-time Norwegian

Sail Date: May 24, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Inside

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.    

Ship Quality
NCL keeps its ships in good repair, based upon our experience with the Epic.
Food and Dining
Could not possibly go hungry on this ship. The Garden Cafe provided a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options every day.
Service and Staff
Ricardo, our cabin steward, was conscientious, efficient and personable.
Entertainment
THe Flyboys, Graffiti, and the Rod Stewart impersonator in the Legends show were great. Other entertainment was not so impressive. I thought Howl at the Moon was juvenile and offensive, even though the perforkmers obviously had superior musical talent to waste.
Children's Programs Not observed.
Onboard Activities
There were many of the usual cruise activities without anything particularly new and enjoyable.
Destinations and Excursions
Our experience was not the best, but NCL is not the real culprit at fault in our expereiences.
Cabin / Stateroom
It was very comfortable and relatively quiet for a cruise ship. Everything worked and was in good repair. Not the place for anyone with claustrophobia, however.
Barcelona, Spain
Casa Battlo was the highlight of our touring activities. Barcelona is a very welcoming city.
Naples, Italy
This is a city badly in need of urban renewal. It felt like a first world city seeking to revert to thgird world status.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Nice little port town but primarily a transfer point to get to Rome. The train system was easy to use for a first-time visitor.
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Enjoyed our hop-on, hop off bus tour of a very nice port city with an interesting history.
Cannes, France
This is one of the most upscale cities in the world - Rodeo Drive on steroids as a separate municipality.
Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands
This was a beautiful town with a lot of history and places of interest.

Tip

I had an Internet package on my phone but found it only worked when I was off the ship. I can only assume that the ship was blocking certain signals to promote its overpriced and lethargic Wi-Fi service.



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