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LittleMissMagic

EPIC 7-Night Mediterranean Rome Roundtrip - Photo Review!

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Hello, everyone!

 

I'm Victoria - an architecture major, travel and tourism minor at Clemson University, and I've just returned to the United States for the first time in nearly 5 months. I've also recently completed my first two Norwegian cruises!

 

Now for a little backstory:

 

I've known that I was going to study abroad in Genoa, Italy for a few years now. Clemson University's architecture program requires all students to study abroad during their third year at one of the program's three fluid campuses (Genoa, Barcelona, or Charleston). So the plan for my family had been that when I studied abroad, we'd take our first Mediterranean cruise.

 

By plan, I mean tentative. I left at the beginning of January for Italy and we had nothing booked (this is not unusual... we like doing things last-minute). With my family, we all spit out ideas, but nothing ever gets done until this girl starts researching, deciding, and cracking the whip. So while abroad in Genoa, it also became my job to plan the family vacation.

 

At some point in the middle of the cruise researching process, my dad emails me telling me that he's heard cruising isn't the best way to see Europe. I knew that. But I had four months to see Europe and I wanted a somewhat relaxing vacation! :D I could already hear the whines of my sister as we walked, took trains, and toured Europe by land. While cruising may not be the best way to see Europe, I reminded my dad of the family diva (I'm not making fun - she carries this title with pride) and suggested that it was probably the best way for us.

 

Now add the boyfriends. I knew that my family had invited my boyfriend to join us on our Mediterranean cruise a long time ago, and I learned that Rachel's boyfriend would also be joining us (which made the cabin arrangements much easier).

 

While most people probably wouldn't worry about this at all, having two first-time cruisers with us really put the pressure on me to find the perfect cruise. Whatever cruise we did was the cruise they would associate with cruising for maybe the rest of their lives. I really wanted a traditional cruise so that they would have the same image of cruising as I did.... I wanted Royal Caribbean, which is the line I've cruised the most and really defined cruising for me as a child.

 

After looking into cruises, I realized that Mediterranean cruising is far different than the "traditional" cruises I knew and loved. Guests could embark at several different ports (I kind of knew of this because of the Costa Concordia incident which I followed closely, but didn't know that several embarkation ports was a custom of almost all cruise lines in the Med). There weren't many, if any, sea days. Because we were cruising at the beginning of May, not all cruise lines were in Europe, yet. Of the Royal Caribbean ships that met my itinerary needs, I just wasn't feeling them.

 

I know what you're thinking.... "Here you come on the Norwegian boards, reviewing a Norwegian ship. Will you please shut-up about your love affair with Royal Caribbean?"

 

Well, the truth is, I had kind of had a love affair with the Norwegian Epic for a few years, now. I remember docking beside the giant, hideous vessel in Costa Maya while on the Carnival Dream and thinking that it looked like a pretty awesome ship. Later, I had stumbled upon the Norwegian board and read a few trip reports that really made me want to try the Epic (thanks Don and Mike). The Epic was sailing the Med and the dates were perfect. I watched a few videos (including Undercover Boss) and read some more trip reports and decided - WHY NOT???

 

And a month or two later, I ended up booking a second Epic cruise as a solo traveler to pass the time before my family arrived in Europe. I was in for two Epic adventures!

 

Will the somewhat loyal Royal be able to leave her "traditional cruising" ways behind and enjoy freestyle cruising aboard the Norwegian Epic? You'll have to read along to find out! ;)

 

All aboard!!!

Edited by LittleMissMagic

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thanks for posting. We are also RT Rome in July, could you please post which nights the parties and any special entertainment were. Was the Spanish Ballet on this year? Also, how early you could get on ship in Rome, how late, if you recall you could debark after cruise (what time the luggage tags said) as we have a 3pm flight and would like to stay on the ship until 10AM. Elaine

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thanks for posting. We are also RT Rome in July, could you please post which nights the parties and any special entertainment were. Was the Spanish Ballet on this year? Also, how early you could get on ship in Rome, how late, if you recall you could debark after cruise (what time the luggage tags said) as we have a 3pm flight and would like to stay on the ship until 10AM. Elaine

 

I kept all of the dailies and the week at a glance which I can refer to for the parties later. I actually ended up rescheduling some things I had booked in advance because of the entertainment offered that night. I was also disappointed when I learned that the sea day was Norwegian Night Out because I had scheduled Cirque for 6:30 that night, and we missed out on most of the festivities, including the opportunity to meet the captain. They did have the Spanish Ballet. Other Headliners shows were Howl at the Moon and Graffiti Classics.

 

We were told that you could embark as early as 11 AM (and maybe sooner). Embarkation in Rome is really chill in comparison to Barcelona embarkation. We really just checked our bags and walked right on the ship. Our staterooms were already ready, too.

 

As for debarkation, I'm sorry to say that you're really going to have to keep a really low profile if you want to leave at 10:00 AM. The Epic was cleared by port authorities early that day, so the began the debarkation process earlier. Before 9:00 (our scheduled debarkation was the latest possible - 9:00), they began making announcements over the loudspeaker, asking guests who were debarking that day to please leave the ship. :D

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Can't wait to read your review and see how you liked the Epic compared RCCL ships. I've only been on NCL once and loved it but I'm considering RCCL for my next cruise.

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Can not wait to hear the rest of your review!! We are sailing Aug 11 out of BCN and I'm trying to get as much info as possible. It would be great to see some of those dailies!!! :)

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I kept all of the dailies and the week at a glance which I can refer to for the parties later.

 

Hi Victoria

 

Looking forward to your review but would like to ask if you could post up the

dailies and the week at a glance if possible please.

As I know there are quite a few people looking out for them on these boards.

 

Thank you

 

Damon and family

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OK - now you've got me jumping between reviews and hopping over to MB to see if you're reporting there too! Can't wait to see that first picture of you meeting up with your family and Max!

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Subscribing to this one too. Now I'm heading off to read your Princess review which I somehow missed a few months ago. :o

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thanks so much. What is Norwegian Night out? Also, since you debarked close to 9AM, was it just walk off ship and get luggage? I assume that there was no customs, as I recall? So, if we got off the ship at 9AM, having driver come at 9:30 would be ample time to get luggage and walk outside? thanks, I can't wait to read your review. So sorry about the luggage on your flight--I was warned about that for EasyJet, as well.

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thanks so much. What is Norwegian Night out? Also, since you debarked close to 9AM, was it just walk off ship and get luggage? I assume that there was no customs, as I recall? So, if we got off the ship at 9AM, having driver come at 9:30 would be ample time to get luggage and walk outside? thanks, I can't wait to read your review. So sorry about the luggage on your flight--I was warned about that for EasyJet, as well.

 

Norwegian Night Out is their dress up or not night. There are a lot of festivities in the early evening. I saved the itinerary for it and will post with the dailies later.

 

It was easy debarkation - no customs, just walk off and find your bags. 9:30 would be plenty of time.

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Also subscribing. Eagerly awaiting the Dailies, but also looking forward to seeing pics :)

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So looking forward to reading this as I embark in Rome, July 3rd. :)

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Following along with both reviews! Embarking in Rome on June 19th!!! Can't wait to read along and see your pictures! :D

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Hello, everyone!

 

I'm Victoria - an architecture major, travel and tourism minor at Clemson University, and I've just returned to the United States for the first time in nearly 5 months. I've also recently completed my first two Norwegian cruises!

 

Now for a little backstory:

 

I've known that I was going to study abroad in Genoa, Italy for a few years now. Clemson University's architecture program requires all students to study abroad during their third year at one of the program's three fluid campuses (Genoa, Barcelona, or Charleston). So the plan for my family had been that when I studied abroad, we'd take our first Mediterranean cruise.

 

By plan, I mean tentative. I left at the beginning of January for Italy and we had nothing booked (this is not unusual... we like doing things last-minute). With my family, we all spit out ideas, but nothing ever gets done until this girl starts researching, deciding, and cracking the whip. So while abroad in Genoa, it also became my job to plan the family vacation.

 

At some point in the middle of the cruise researching process, my dad emails me telling me that he's heard cruising isn't the best way to see Europe. I knew that. But I had four months to see Europe and I wanted a somewhat relaxing vacation! :D I could already hear the whines of my sister as we walked, took trains, and toured Europe by land. While cruising may not be the best way to see Europe, I reminded my dad of the family diva (I'm not making fun - she carries this title with pride) and suggested that it was probably the best way for us.

 

Now add the boyfriends. I knew that my family had invited my boyfriend to join us on our Mediterranean cruise a long time ago, and I learned that Rachel's boyfriend would also be joining us (which made the cabin arrangements much easier).

 

While most people probably wouldn't worry about this at all, having two first-time cruisers with us really put the pressure on me to find the perfect cruise. Whatever cruise we did was the cruise they would associate with cruising for maybe the rest of their lives. I really wanted a traditional cruise so that they would have the same image of cruising as I did.... I wanted Royal Caribbean, which is the line I've cruised the most and really defined cruising for me as a child.

 

After looking into cruises, I realized that Mediterranean cruising is far different than the "traditional" cruises I knew and loved. Guests could embark at several different ports (I kind of knew of this because of the Costa Concordia incident which I followed closely, but didn't know that several embarkation ports was a custom of almost all cruise lines in the Med). There weren't many, if any, sea days. Because we were cruising at the beginning of May, not all cruise lines were in Europe, yet. Of the Royal Caribbean ships that met my itinerary needs, I just wasn't feeling them.

 

I know what you're thinking.... "Here you come on the Norwegian boards, reviewing a Norwegian ship. Will you please shut-up about your love affair with Royal Caribbean?"

 

Well, the truth is, I had kind of had a love affair with the Norwegian Epic for a few years, now. I remember docking beside the giant, hideous vessel in Costa Maya while on the Carnival Dream and thinking that it looked like a pretty awesome ship. Later, I had stumbled upon the Norwegian board and read a few trip reports that really made me want to try the Epic (thanks Don and Mike). The Epic was sailing the Med and the dates were perfect. I watched a few videos (including Undercover Boss) and read some more trip reports and decided - WHY NOT???

 

And a month or two later, I ended up booking a second Epic cruise as a solo traveler to pass the time before my family arrived in Europe. I was in for two Epic adventures!

 

Will the somewhat loyal Royal be able to leave her "traditional cruising" ways behind and enjoy freestyle cruising aboard the Norwegian Epic? You'll have to read along to find out! ;)

 

All aboard!!!

Can't wait to see those pics! Nice intro by the way! We board this sunday from Barcelona. :D

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Hoping we will get to read more of this review and see the dalies ASAP !!!

Thx

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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Hi,

 

Waiting for more! Really enjoying both of yours reviews!

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Picking up where I left off with my solo cruise....

 

I had to get up super early in the morning for my 6:20 flight to Rome. Yuck. But I was excited because I was going to see my family soon! :)

 

The cab ride from the hotel to the airport was cheaper and certainly shorter than the cab ride from the airport to the cruise terminal earlier that week, so I was beginning to wonder if my first cab driver overcharged me. Oh well.

 

My flight was on time. It was also the first time ever my bags were among the first out on the carrousel. I paid a Euro for a trolley and figured out that my family would be arriving in Terminal 3, and I was in Terminal 1, so I walked over there. Figured out where they'd be coming in at. Waited. Bought a Coca Light. Waited.

 

FINALLY, I got a text from my dad that they had just landed. More waiting. It seemed like at least 10 planes arrived from the US since I had been there. The automatic doors opened, and I could see Max and my mom talking. Oh, and there's Rachel.... I started waving frantically. They didn't see me. So I scooted around to as close as I could possibly get without getting in trouble with security to greet my family.

 

Rachel was the first to run up and hug me, exclaiming, "I win! I win! I'm first - haha!" And then Maxwell (bf) got his overdue hug. And my parents.

 

We had a driver who was taking us to the apartment we had rented. It was sometime when I was trying to decide what I should do after I got out of school and my family came that I was checking out rentals on VRBO and realized that it would be nice to rent an apartment for the family, rather than stay in multiple hotel rooms before and after the cruise. So I sent a bunch of links of rentals near the Coliseum to my dad, and he got one that was available. The lady who owned it was super involved and booked my dad transportation from the airport to the apartment, tours for our day in Rome, and transportation from the apartment to the cruise port. That was a relief for me because I knew if he hadn't found her so convenient, I would've been the one searching for the best prices and everything.

 

The driver was surprised by our large number of bags. Everyone had a large checked bag, and I had two. And then everyone but Max and Rachel had a rolling carry-on. So we stuffed the trunk with bags, then had some at our feet and were basically sitting on top of bags the entire way. It was a long drive because there was and accident on the highway that the driver was trying to avoid by going the back roads, but there also turned out to be an accident on the back roads. So it didn't help us at all to do this long and curvy path instead.

 

Our car ride over was this:

 

Alec - "There's another 2 minute sausage sign."

Rachel - "Alec, shut-up!"

Max - "I'm gonna to throw up! I'm gonna be sick!"

Mom - "Boyd, do we have any plastic bags?"

Me - "And I have to pee."

Rachel - "Massage my feet."

Alec - "2 minute sausages!"

Max - "Ugh, I'm about to barf for real."

Me - "Max, move your head you're crushing my bladder!"

Rachel - "Alec, stop rubbing my back in the same freaking spot!"

Alec - "I wonder why 2 minute sausages are so popular."

Rachel and Max - "Alec, shut up!!!"

 

We finally made it.

 

We got up to the apartment, and there is the owner and her son there to greet us. The first thing we did was fight each other for the bathrooms.

 

I had never personally met an owner of a vacation rental before. It must be what they do in Italy. But she had paperwork to go over. She gave me the tour and told me where everything was because I was the only one paying attention. She then went over all of the details for tomorrow with my dad. Our first tour guide was actually her daughter. She tried to book us another tour guide on our way to the ship Wednesday, but we said we'd think about it. We were all thinking absolutely not.

 

Everyone was hungry. Finally, the owner left the apartment and we could go eat some pizza. Note that this is my family's first time in Europe, and I didn't realize that they weren't yet accustomed to Italian ways. So my dad was super annoyed when the first place we went ignored us while we stood there and some lady cut us in line. So we went to the next place and stood there while they cleaned a table. They didn't speak much English, so I had to use the *little* Italian I know to communicate. The pizza was very good, though.

 

I thought food would cheer up the gang, but everyone except Max and Dad was still in a funk. "Gelato! You guys have to try gelato!" So we went inside, and I made everyone get gelato. And just like that Rachel was skipping down the streets, happy again.

 

Everyone went back to the apartment to nap while Dad and I went on a hunt for an ATM. The two he had found earlier were out of money. It started down pouring... luckily, I had my umbrella. Unfortunately, I felt bad and had to share it with my dad. If you're a short person, you know that it sucks sharing an umbrella with someone much taller than you.

 

We were drenched. And we couldn't find an ATM with any money. But we did find a grocery store. So we bought wine and beer.

 

Got back to the apartment, and Max was up bobbing around. Everyone else was passed out. So Dad, Max, and I decided to open a bottle of wine... the red wine. Well Max is sitting there flipping this centerpiece, and I swear in slow motion, his wine glass flips on himself and he gets the red wine all over his brand new khaki shorts. What you don't yet know about Max is that he is a neat freak and he flips out if he gets anything on himself. So Dad and I were flinching, expecting the rage. He takes his shorts off, and I tried to salvage them with a stain stick before throwing them in the wash, but it was too much wine. Dad had cleaned up the wine on the floor, I was out on the porch where the washing machine was, getting it ready. Max comes in to give me his shorts and slips on the floor, hitting his knees HARD. Great... now his shorts are ruined and his knees are, too. I threw the shorts in the wash, and Dad cleaned up the rest of the floor while Max limped around. We put ice on his knees and hoped they'd be better for our walking tour tomorrow.

 

We thought we didn't wake anyone in this commotion, but it turns out that they were all awake. They just said to themselves, "I don't hear anything. I don't hear anything," and kept sleeping.

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