May 2014 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean
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.