Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Not enough time in ports and small pools

Sail Date: July 29, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

Got on in Civitavecchia which is not the main embarkation or debarkation port the whole setup was a mess from the lack of free shuttle to/from the train... to unmarked crusie area and no prior directions. Made it to the port and have no clue where our ship was.. wandered until we found a shuttle bus stop waited 20min to be driven in circles had there been a map or something we would have just walked.

Checked in and our room was ready yay except our luggage took another 2 hours to arrive and then it was only one of the 2 got a little anxious but decided to be patient, the other finally arrived in time for sailing off.

Our mini suite was oddly designed.  In the shape of a wave with restrooms upfront followed by a couch then bed. The privacy issue as many people have mentioned is there... and the room was dirty there were crumbs all over the floor and there were screws loose all over the place. The mini fridge shelf originally was a cabinet but i guess they rethought that one and ripped out the door. Btw they lock the mini fridge the night before you get off and put all your stuff on the shelf in which case all my produce spoiled while I was on my tour.

The room was dirty when we got in but the linens were clean and we were too tired to care. There were crumbs all over the floor bits of food and a thick layer of dust on the coffee maker.  The room steward was great and did everything with a smile even managed to get us towels for the pool well ahead of time. 

The ship is much like the breakaway in terms of layout. 

My issues with NCL were this one they nickel and dime you on everything. Juice is not included only the chemical stuff.. fresh pressed is extra. Every little thing seems to be extra. They even changed the daily service charge mid cruise.

The pools were like hot tubs small and over crowded for the amount of ppl on board it was just not ideal. I tried the slides one night around 7pm aside from the ton of kids and long lines they are poorly made and bruised my back. As for the pools well major let down I came back from an excursion and was looking forward to a cool dip only to get into what looked like a kiddie pool under the big screen in the adults only section and it was warm and filthy and with 10 ppl it was so crowded you couldn't even really move around just stand there in tepid water. The one day at sea was so crowded on deck there was not a single chair available anywhere.  Honestly if I didn't have a balcony to retreat to I would have killed myself in that heat that day. 

The spa fee to use the indoor amenities is $40 per person per day...absurd. They try to up-sell you on their products for 20 min before your massage cutting into the time and after they push it again.. what a pain. Also I took one of their spa deals and they charged me for the wrong promotion and I got sub par service so make sure you bring the flyer with you and they ring you up correctly. No robes are provided either which i think is lousy nor can you use the facilities after to soak you would still need to pay the $40.

Seems the on-board activities are always the same towel folding.. .drink tasting... bowling and pool at the bar at  $.

Unlimited drink package wasn't very useful as had to pay the difference for certain glasses of wine and what not at the bars and dinner. Did not include the coffee and was barely utilized if you want to see the ports then i suggest the dinner package. Although that would require reservations which is tough to do when you are unsure of how exhausted you will be from your day trips.




Food and Dining
The specialty dining is the same as is on all the ships nothing new and exciting. This time we opted for buffets and the price included options. The buffets were decent we always found something to eat. The Manhattan room had a wait most evenings but it was manageable best time to go is while others are at a show and if you wish to dance ask for a table close to the music otherwise you will never make it to the dance floor and will barely hear the music. Taste was good too I liked the location. The Asian restaurant was surprisingly decent as well they took my allergy seriously and went above and beyond to accommodate. Skip the Mexican its lame and mostly gross. Oh and you can't eat at the bar at the adults only pool there are plenty of tables but none with shade. Room service now comes with a price so we didn't do that either. Went to the pub one night for late night food and had the mozzarella sticks, a pastrami sandwich, a burger and some wings all were decent.
Service and Staff
Entertainment... loved burn the floor... skipped cirque did it on Breakaway was not impressed then not now... dueling pianos was truly wonderful...magician was ok... the supreme dream girls were far from good.
Onboard Activities
They need to be more scattered in terms of time for instance if you miss one show at 7 there should be something else going on at 8,9,10, etc. Things also seemed to die out early because of the early morning ports.
Destinations and Excursions
Way too expensive. If you really want to see each place then you are better off taking a train and not running for the ship there is too much to do in each port to be limited to half a day. The ports are also rather close together there is no reason why we cannot stay in port longer to have more options to take it all in.
Ship Quality
The mini suites have a tub and it is high you can break your neck trying to get in and out of that thing. It is separated from the cabin with a curtain but is directly across from the toiled and is also very dark. Water pressure was pretty bad in the shower too. The ship is huge but it is poorly designed as you can see based on my pool comments. It was rather thoroughly clean all throughout I will give them that much.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Embarkation was a mess as for disembarkation they want you off the ship by 9am that is kind of crazy we got a call as early as 8:00 asking us why we were still in the room. Do they expect you to skip breakfast? They had us on the list to leave at 7:30 based on our cabin. We booked a train for 11am and ended up waiting in the station for half the morning. Also getting from the ship back to the train was great... not. The shuttle bus takes you to the public bus which NCL tells you is 80 cents euro but its actually 2euro a person there is a super long line and cabs wont take you to the station because its too close however the bus takes forever to come and is further out than had you gotten off and walked. If it wasn't so hot out we would have done just that with all our luggage.
Cabin / Stateroom
Lots of places to put your stuff tons of cabinet space but not very spacious as a room. We had the bed by the balcony instead of the couch and I think that was a better layout.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Go to the beach do not do the Rome tours they are too expensive or go to Rome on your own its too far you are better off making it a beach day in my opinion.
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Took the Pisa and wine lunch Excursion from NCL it was a good day very hot otherwise not bad. Lunch was ok some good wines nothing out of this world. There was cheese and pork cold cuts and some veggie tortellini. The olive oil was great.
Cannes, France
Took an excursion that has not been reviewed much on a chance and went to the island where the monks have been making wine for years to see the old monastery and have a tasting. It was great lots of walking but not too intense wine was surprisingly good too.
Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands
They let us into this port late which sucks because we lost a good amount of time to explore. We did not take a tour instead we opted to walk along the bay down the old city into the squares and around the major sites. It was manageable but cut it close to all aboard time. Too much to take in by foot in the allotted time slot.
Barcelona, Spain
Walk around don't take a tour you can see everything in about 4-5 hours
Naples, Italy Wake up early if you are not doing an excursion and get on a boat to an island. Capri is beautiful but in recent years has become overrun and overrated try one of lesser known ones and enjoy a beach day. The problem with the non commercial island and doing Capri or anything like that is cost and time. Again the all aboard was too early to truly enjoy the splendors. By the time we reached the right boat we had to wait for the next one which was on the other side of the port a treck in itself. Then it was a long ride to the island no speed boats if you don't want commercial then a cab to the marina for the best seafood lunch ever and that left us with 15 min to jump into the ocean and rush back to the only ship that would get us back to Naples in time to run back to get on board NCL

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