We did the Norwegian Epic cruise from Barcelona in June and loved it!
A bit of background information about us – we are ladies of a certain age who like a bit of luxury. We have a girl’s week or weekend once a year and like to try different countries. We have been to Vegas, LA, most Italian cities and this was our second cruise. The first one was 3 years ago and we sailed round the Greek Islands on the Celebrity Equinox. It was a beautiful ship and a fantastic Itinerary.
So we chose the Epic really because it was the only cruise that we could get flights direct from Glasgow at the beginning of June and within our budget. I read many mixed reviews about it and went without great expectations.
We didn’t get off to a good start as it was raining in Barcelona and the Sail Away party was cancelled! So we went for lunch at the buffet and had some drinks in O’Shehans (we had the drinks included which was excellent – Grey Goose vodka and Tanqueray Gin included). We got our cabin (10258) quite quickly and we were very happy with it. The toilet layout suited us fine, as it meant that we could still use the sink and vanity area while one of us was in the shower – the shower was huge – about 6ft long! There was more than enough storage space for 3 ladies with lots of outfits. Our cabin steward was very friendly and looked after us well.
We loved the entertainment especially Howl to the Moon. We went to see Priscilla and Burn the floor and both were very good. We did book them but you could also just walk in on the night. We also went to the Cavern club one night to see the Beatles band and enjoyed that. The Barricade Boys were amazing – especially their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. The bars had a good vibe to them. We liked the Malting’s Bar – great staff and they had a guitarist playing most nights (Aldo) and Shakers Martini Bar had a piano player / singer.
H20 ADULT ONLY AREA
We sunbathed here on the first day at sea and also the Rome day as we had been to Rome previously. There is a small plunge pool and 2 Jacuzzis. We got a sunbed no problem at all. The drinks service was excellent – especially the lovely Asian waitress with the tattoos – I think Ja was her name – she was the best.
MAIN POOL AREA
The main area was really crowded the first day at sea. They had a band playing and some people got up to dance. We came here for lunch most days and enjoyed what we had. But it was very difficult to get a drink at the bar – they really need more staff on – there is no waiter service here. There weren’t many children on this cruise – probably because the school holiday hadn’t started yet.
We only tried the included restaurants and found them to be really good. We mostly went to the Manhattan (MDR) restaurant in the evening, as we like to dress up a bit. Service was very good. They had a band on here some nights, which added to the atmosphere. We never had a bad meal here. But be warned – if you go at 8pm there will be a massive queue.
We also went to Taste (the other MDR) one night but preferred it for breakfast on the days we didn’t have a tour. (even thought it’s the same food as Manhattan). We could smell the smoke from the casino above.
We went to the buffet for breakfast most days and it was sufficient – but hectic as buffets normally are! They need to clear the tables a bit quicker too.
We had dinner at O’Shehans one night and the food was good here too (fajitas, Shepherds Pie, Fish and chips) – albeit quite small portions – but enough for us. It is a good casual option and it was always busy and popular.
We also tried the Chinese restaurant one night and were all happy with the food there. We were in the back room though which was very dark and the front room was too bright! It is very popular so make sure you book it a few days before.
I did a little bit of gambling at the casino on my favorite machine from Vegas – Buffalo Gold. I didn’t win much at all – very tight. You have to put your room card in and set up a pin number then add money to your account. Be careful and don’t leave it in the machine – I did it twice! Also, I tried to get money back that I hadn’t spent, but they only pay out in dollars – so I ended up just blowing it in the casino to get rid of it the night before going home.
We did the ‘Capri on Your Own’ tour with NCL. Be warned – the ferry was very choppy and I got seasick – as did many others – but I’m fine on the cruise ship.
This tour worked out pretty good we thought. They get your ferry tickets for you then meet you on Capri then you could just explore on your own or have the option to go to Ana Capri with the guide. She charged 15 euros each to take us in a mini bus there and back. We had about 1.5 hours to look around then back to the main town of Capri where we had about 2 hours. We did a bit of shopping then we went for lunch in Hotel La Palma. (I did a separate review for this if you want to look).
We did the NCL Cinque Terre on your own tour which wasn’t available on the NCL website until the more expensive tour sold out! I think the price for the original tour, which took you on a guided tour of 3 villages, was about £149 and this one was only £79. It only takes you to two of the villages RIOMAGGIORE and VERNAZZA, but you have a couple of hours in each place, so it was nice and relaxed. It takes about 2 hours on a bus to get there but we thought it was really worthwhile as they are beautiful little quaint villages.
This was the only tender port. NCL really need to get this sorted. You get a tender time and go down to the show area where you sit about for half an hour before being allowed to get off the ship. It was a complete shambles and a waste of time.
We just walked around Capri and did some shopping then went for drinks at the marina. We would like to come back for a long weekend sometime.
Lovely city. We met some friends for drinks as they were staying for a weekend. Would go back again.
Yes, its an ugly ship from the outside but very nice on the inside. Its not as pretty a ship as the Celebrity Equinox and I would say that the level of personal service is not at the Equinox level but the food was as good – if not better. But for us what made it a great cruise was the fantastic entertainment.