Norwegian Epic - Rome to Rome
Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Sail Date: May 27, 2015
Ship: Norwegian Epic
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 9295
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 2 years ago
My daughter and I just finished our cruise on the Norwegian Epic from Rome, Italy to Florence/Pisa, Cannes, France, Palma Majorca, Barcelona, Spain, Naples, Italy, and back to Rome. Overall, the cruise was great. We had some issues getting from the port to Rome and vice versa which cast a dark shadow over the cruise. I do wish that the cruise line would provide a complimentary shuttle from and to the port. That is always the hardest part as well as costly. We wound up being scammed in the FCO airport first and then again in the train station. That one service alone, if provided by the cruise line, would make all the difference (they offer the service but not at a competitive rate and certainly not complimentary).
We had an aft balcony cabin, 9295 on the NOrwegian Epic. The views from Aft are amazing but no more so than the side views. The bed was by the balcony which was perfect. The bathroom and shower are in two separate compartments right by the door which was not at all ideal. The plexiglass doors did little for privacy so we had to keep the curtain closed and make sure that nobody came to the door while one was in the bathroom or taking a shower. Not at all optimal but not horrible.
The ship itself is beautiful with lots of things to do including a casino, pool tables, bingo, bowling, movies, rock climbing, water slides, and lots of food. However, other than swimming, everything had an extra charge. The pool was $2 a game. Bowling was $7 per person per game (fun but could rack up in charges fast). That was a bit annoying but I guess standard.
The food was free. Not great. Not horrible. Bland. Lots of variety but it all seemed to taste the same. Norwegian has also just recently started charging for room service so we didn't use that except for continental breakfasts (no charge for that) but the selection was starch or other starch and very bland. We did it for the coffee basically. The wait staff was very friendly but it was difficult to get refills on anything. I think they were simply too busy. One drink and that was pushing it on all meals in every single venue. O Sheehan's Bar and Grill had the best complimentary food and service on the whole ship. The Manhattan room had a lovely presentation and great ambiance but the food was bland with a very limited selection.
We used the unlimited beverage package promotion which was simply great. I would do that again whether free or not. However, it is not available via room service even with the extra service charge. Go figure!! Also, it was difficult to get a second glass of wine at dinner unless you went to the bar and got it yourself.
The shows were great and very entertaining. Howl at the Moon was lively and different. The Dance show (forgot the name) was also very good and lively. Cirque and Dinner was okay. We paid extra for the premium seating and still had an obstructed view which was disappointing. Again, I was unable to get a drink refill (soda this time) during dinner. That's a recurring problem.
The gift shops don't have books or anything other than jewelry, perfume, and souvenir type items. The library is nice but only open at certain times? The book that I got immediately fell apart (old/stiff spine) when I got it to the cabin to read. I returned it in the book return bin but imagine that will probably be added to my bill later.
The NCL excursions were expensive but pretty darn good. It took the guess work out of planning in a foreign speaking country. In hindsight, I should have booked the SkyMilesCruises excursions at a discount but I thought that I would be able to DIY. Once in Italy after being scammed twice, we decided to take no more chances on DIY and booked the NCL excursions. Addtionally, I wish there were either more affordable options or just more information provided to help the customers plan a DIY excursion. Even the free shuttles from the port to the city centers are no longer complimentary. Again, nickel and dime for everything. It was disappointing and different from our last NCL cruise.
Technology - the NCL Concierge App is good and very helpful for planning excursions and entertainment. Basically, it's good for booking anything that will cost more money. It was very helpful actually. However, it does not have a deck map which should be the very first thing on the APP but is just not there. I looked many times thinking that I must have just missed it. It's not there.
WIFI - available but at an additional price. We didn't purchase it until the last day when my 18 year old daughter went into withdrawal and bought it for herself. I will never buy it for myself. It should be complimentary. A wifi package alone would be a huge improvement.
The casino was just fun. LOVED it! I'm not a gambler and only played for 10 minutes total but I loved it. There is no smoking allowed in the casino. That is a misnomer.
Overall, the cruise was great. The staff were very friendly and nice. Just busy. I probably will do another cruise but will look at other cruise lines to see if the packages are more inclusive so that I don't feel nickeled and dimed for every tiny thing. I will look for a cruise line that has better packages that include more options for transportation, excursions, beverage packages, food, and internet/wifi.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Expect to pay for even the smallest activities.
The stairs to the fifth floor are blocked. You have to go to the 6th floor and then down escalators to the 5th floor.
Look at a blue print when reserving your room, pick one with the concave part of wave by the window to get bed by balcony.