Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Purser

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Quality not as good as expected

Sail Date: September 09, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Room Type: Suite

I've been on several Carnival cruises but this was my first Norwegian cruise. I was expecting better food and service but was disappointed that neither measured up to my previous experiences. The amenities were superior - we booked a junior balcony suite that was comfortable and well appointed. The bathroom accommodations aren't too private but shouldn't be a problem if you're familiar with your traveling companion. The entertainment was superior - 2 of the 3 theater shows were Broadway quality (only the Legends show faltered). We did not pay the extra fee for Cirque de Soleil as I'm from Las Vegas and have seen most of their shows. We paid the $20/person extra to try the Ice Bar - didn't compare to the 5 Below bars in Las Vegas and the room was uncomfortably cold - we couldn't finish our second drink we were so uncomfortable.  The food was the biggest disappointment. Unless you pay extra to dine in the Bistro, Teppan or Steak restaurants the food doesn't compare to other cruises. Also I found many of the sauces they added to entrees or desserts detracted from the final product. If you're not sure you're going to like it - order it without or on the side. Most disappointing was the restaurant service. Most servers didn't seem to be enjoying their jobs and rarely smiled seeming more interested in talking to each other rather than the guests.  Of course the star of this cruise are the ports of call and they didn't disappoint. Even when we had a poor tour guide on one of our excursions - the staff discounted the excursion on our bill. Overall I enjoyed this cruise most for the places I visited and if I travelled this area again I think I would experiment with another line. 

Cabin / Stateroom
Great room, plenty of storage. Bathroom configuration is awkward but if you're familiar with your cabin mate it shouldn't be a problem. I haven't found any ship that has enough plugs to accommodate iPads, phones, etc.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
It was easy to board and exit the ship and quite organized on excursion days. We boarded in Rome where only 30% board - 2/3 board in Barcelona.
Ship Quality
Destinations and Excursions
Great excursions to Florence, Barcelona and Capri. The Cannes excursion to Grasse and St. Paul was fascinating but not long enough. We also had a poor guide but were reimbursed 30% after several guests complained.
Onboard Activities
This is not a "fun ship". On at sea days everyone is around the pools and there are not enough chairs to accommodate everyone. They had the occasional game show or guests competition but not like other ships that have something to do nearly every hour of the day.
The Motown show and Burn the Floor dance musical were excellent. The Legends impersonator show had mediocre performances. Did not pay extra to attend the Cirque show.
Service and Staff
restaurant service was biggest disappointment but our room steward Joe (shortened nickname) was excellent.
Food and Dining
if you don't spend extra on the better restaurants you'll be disappointed in the Main dining rooms.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
We took this cruise in and out of Rome so we could spend 5 extra days in Rome. That allowed us just to hit the highlights! One day is not enough in this great city!
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Don't miss Florence! Wished our excursion had bypassed the drive by of Pisa and allowed us an extra hour to shop in Florence. Historical excursion was so action packed we had to shorten our lunch to allow time to buy some souvenirs.
Cannes, France
We took the Grasse/St. Paul excursion that was a half day. This tour was too short especially in St. Paul. Should have been a full day to allow art lovers to browse galleries or non art lovers to shop in this quaint medieval village with spectacular views. We barely had time to walk up to the village when we were being pushed back on the bus to go back to the ship. Hopefully this excursion is lengthened after the many complaints. We spent the rest of our port time I walking back to Cannes where there are countless cafes and shopping.
Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands
We just took the $15 shuttle to town that runs all day. There is a great beach and tented shops setup along the main drag offering local wares and $1-2€ tapas and cervezas.
Barcelona, Spain
Did the Best of Barcelona tour that gave us highlights of the city and included an inside tour of Sagrada Familia. My favorite city - can't wait to go back and spend more time. City is so clean and green with great food options!
Naples, Italy
We took the excursion to Capri to do as we liked once there. All of our excursions were so action packed we felt that this was a perfect relaxed day. The funicular is only 1.80€ each way to top and the town is easily walkable. The boat ride there was rough and many people were sick - seas were much calmer on return trip.


Pay extra for the upgraded dining or you'll be disappointed. Not as many planned activities on the ship as other Cruiselines.

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