July 2014 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean
We booked the Epic in Europe for our honeymoon and it was an amazing trip. The biggest note worth making is to sign up for shore excursions if you want to "do it all" (either through the boat or through ). We got on the boat in Rome, which we highly recommend, because with 4,000 passengers, only 1,000 are boarding in Rome. In addition, most are spending the day in Rome (the port is actually 1 hour from the city) so you have the opportunity to explore the boat and avoid the crowds.
Bottom line up-front: We felt that this cruise was all about location. The stops, time in port and shore excursions were the reason we would recommend it to friends.
Despite the size, we never felt overwhelmed by the amount of people on the boat. There definitely is not enough pool space, but we had no issues with chairs at 7:30 AM (started filling up around 8:30 AM). We felt day time activities were lacking (esp. with 4,000 guests onboard) and this was apparant during our day-at-sea where the weather was not ideal.
The evening entertainment was fantastic. We saw blue man group, which was great. The ice bar is fun, and we spent several nights at Howl at the Moon signing along with the Dueling Pianos. We were also fortunate enough to be on the boat during the World Cup and the boat was able to broadcast the games in the evening outdoors at H20.
The bathrooms in the staterooms are unique in that they have seperated the toilet from the shower and the sink is in the cabin. It does not leave a lot of privacy, but it does appear they have figured out how to add more storage space, which was a plus.
The dining rooms were our biggest complaint. The lines were enormous anytime after 7:30 (even for two) and the wait staff seemed overwhelmed. They have removed the concept of drink waiters, so waiters and their single assistant are responsible for both. This ends up causing long waits for drinks, meals, clearing tables and coffee at desert (we waited 20 minutes AFTER receiving our desert for coffee to be served multiple times). The food itself was very good and offered a wide-selection.
In Livorno we did the Florence tour (including David statue) and Pisa tower climb. It was amazing.
In Cannes we just shopped. It rained, but it was fun. The good majority of cruisers seemed to either visit Monte Carlo or walk the streets for shopping.
In Palma, we rented bikes. There are no signs or advertisements, but about 1 mile from the boat is Palma on Bike. There is a bike path along the entire coast and you can bike on the path to the church, beautiful beaches, restaurants and gelato stores.
In Barca, we shared a cab with another couple and visited La Sagrada Familia. Cab is about 20 euro. We highly recommend buying tickets in advance for La Sagrada Familia. The line is very long and times begin selling out. We were able to find Wifi nearby and bought the tickets online :).
In Naples, we did a shore excursion through cruises only for the Amalfi coast and Pompeii. It was amazing. We could not recommend this more as it was our favorite stop.