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NutsAboutGolf

Live from the first 2019 West Med Epic, any requests?

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23 minutes ago, gatorchinsky said:

 

We were planning on just doing the HOHO buses for Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona so it’s nice to hear that you enjoyed it (except for the WiFi).

 

How long were your days?  Were the bus stops right by the ports?

 

Thanks😀

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Thanks so much for your review!  We set sail on June 2 but leave this Saturday for a week including London and Paris.  And I would love to see the Daillies.

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Thanks for your mini-review!  A few questions for you:  (1) did you purchase your HOHO tix for Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona in advance of the ports or the day off? (2) did you have to travel far (walking or taking taxi) to the bus pick up point? (3) were there lots of people not getting off and just staying on? (4) would it be difficult to get back on if we hopped off? (5) what was the peak time for people getting off in Barcelona as I want to avoid the crowds? (6) do they still have a Beatles cover band playing in the Cavern Club? Did you make it in? (7) at the different ports, do they have outside excursion companies for last minute bookings like the Caribbean? My family can't handle the all-day excursions so having difficulty booking anything.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!

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23 hours ago, gatorchinsky said:

 

We were planning on just doing the HOHO buses for Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona so it’s nice to hear that you enjoyed it (except for the WiFi).

 

How long were your days?  Were the bus stops right by the ports?

 

Thanks😀

Thanks, with the tours they were pretty much all day with minimal time to do anything else; bus stop questions will be answered below

 

16 hours ago, cidymom said:

Thanks for your mini-review!  A few questions for you:  (1) did you purchase your HOHO tix for Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona in advance of the ports or the day off? (2) did you have to travel far (walking or taking taxi) to the bus pick up point? (3) were there lots of people not getting off and just staying on? (4) would it be difficult to get back on if we hopped off? (5) what was the peak time for people getting off in Barcelona as I want to avoid the crowds? (6) do they still have a Beatles cover band playing in the Cavern Club? Did you make it in? (7) at the different ports, do they have outside excursion companies for last minute bookings like the Caribbean? My family can't handle the all-day excursions so having difficulty booking anything.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!

 

1)      Booked both on my own, you could buy on the bus. 

2)      For PdM, it was a 10min walk from the ship to the bus stop (which is also where taxis are), NCL shore excursions was offering a paid shuttle that went from just outside the ship to end of the pier which was where the HOHOs/taxis were.  For Barcelona I believe it was also 10min walk from ship to the HOHO stop, but if you’re embarking/disembarking, unless you have luggage valet service (no idea what the options are) you’ll need to deal with your luggage and I'm not even sure the if the HOHO will allow you to bring big pieces of luggage on as I can’t recall seeing anyone with any.  As I disembarked from Barcelona, I took a taxi from the pier to my hotel as I knew they'll hold my luggage, I then walked to a HOHO stop from the hotel.

3)       The biggest factor is how close the stop was to the main centers.  Every person who got off the HOHO close to the center was replaced by someone getting on, as you got further from the center, the emptier the bus got.  The upper deck filled up faster than the bottom.

4)      No, both lines had multiple buses; they claimed its every 20mins, it was often as little as 5mins.  Both places I used City Tours, Barcelona had another HOHO option but I didn't use it.  There are city pass bundle options but I didn't get those.

5)      I don’t know, I left the room around 830am, ate breakfast at taste and was off just before 9am.  There was no lines to get off the ships and there isn’t customs.  Taxi line was under 5mins.

6)      Yes, I believe I came in a half hour after it started.  There were some open seats despite lots of people standing; it was obviously an older crowd.

7)      At most ports, I recall this was NOT case with PdM, they were someone holding a sign that says “taxi excursion” or “shore excursion” with Naples and Rome they were being somewhat aggressive.

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The ship arrives at 7am in Livorno, do you remember what time was it possible to actually leave the ship?

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10 minutes ago, am0985 said:

The ship arrives at 7am in Livorno, do you remember what time was it possible to actually leave the ship?

 Everyday there was a gaggle of people who lined up super early by the gang way.  We were 30-40mins early for both Cannes & PdM, but I believe we were on time for Rome.  Furthermore, it was an unique cruise as the transatlantic folks were disembarking from the U.S.

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OMG, you are the Best !!!, Thank you so much !!

Now I have reading material for the flight over to Barcelona, lol 

(I hate to ask but did you take a picture of the disembarking Dailies? The one with bag colors and times?)

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Posted (edited)

With the dailies I see that there’s some missing pages and duplicates...after work I’ll try and post again correctly; I’ll probably just start a new thread and link it here so it’ll appear as the first post.

 

As of note, Monday the Sea Day says “Garden Cafe - fisherman’s wharf” while other days don’t say that so it appears that is the seafood day.  Perhaps someone else on this cruise can chime in 

 

One big complaint is climbing/repelling wall was only open 2 hours a day from 5-7 everyday including the PdM when you can’t get off the ship until 1pm EXCEPT for the sea day where it’s open from 1:30-6 but they had a kids competition at 3pm

Edited by NutsAboutGolf

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, GiuseppeB said:

OMG, you are the Best !!!, Thank you so much !!

Now I have reading material for the flight over to Barcelona, lol 

(I hate to ask but did you take a picture of the disembarking Dailies? The one with bag colors and times?)

 

I didn’t receive one; I also didn’t receive the day of embarkment daily (got one at shore excursions which had no line compared to guest services) but when you get on the ship you receive a what’s happening flyer with deck plan; I threw that out after I obtained the daily 

Edited by NutsAboutGolf

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Many thanks for the pictures of the Dailies. We embark on 23rd June so with these we can do our homework.:classic_biggrin:

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We are on a sailing in August, where we embark in Rome and are in Barcelona on a Sunday.  I've heard reports that a lot of things are closed on Sundays in Barcelona.  Just wondering what is open or available to see.  This is toward the end of a month long trip, so I think we are going to be tired of museums/churches by that point.  

Thanks for your help.

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On 5/21/2019 at 12:14 PM, NutsAboutGolf said:

 

6.       For Breakfast and lunch, the Le Bistro (French Restaurant) allows you to bring your buffet food in it to eat.  There is both busing staff and drink service to take drink orders.  It’s a lot quieter, the décor makes it a much better atmosphere and as far as I know there isn’t anyone enforcing any kind of dress code.  Get your buffet food, walk all the way to the “back” of the buffet and you’ll see stairs that go down to the French restaurant.  They do have a self-serve water, ice, coffee and juice machines.  On the sea day they even had a mini buffet with pizza.

7.       One of the top complaints with the ship is the incredibly slow elevators.  Get into the right mindset that every time you want an elevator it will take a few minutes and that when the door opens it could be too full to get in especially during peak times.  There are too few elevators for the number of passengers and Haven guests get priority.  Practice patience or do what I did, take the stairs every time.

 

Hope you don't mind but it's the Italian restaurant which is the level below the buffet right at the back where you can eat breakfast in. La Cucina. 

 

Also if you are waiting for an lift do think about jumping into one regardless which direction it is going as eventually it will go in the direction you want. Several times we did this and found no one was actually going in the opposite direction and we managed to over ride it by pushing the number frequently. This can only be done if the buttons haven't been pressed already 

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4 hours ago, MNcruisingcouple said:

We are on a sailing in August, where we embark in Rome and are in Barcelona on a Sunday.  I've heard reports that a lot of things are closed on Sundays in Barcelona.  Just wondering what is open or available to see.  This is toward the end of a month long trip, so I think we are going to be tired of museums/churches by that point.  

Thanks for your help.

Most places are closed except for touristy places. Cafes and restaurants will probably be opened.

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3 hours ago, Yinster said:

Hope you don't mind but it's the Italian restaurant which is the level below the buffet right at the back where you can eat breakfast in. La Cucina. 

 

Also if you are waiting for an lift do think about jumping into one regardless which direction it is going as eventually it will go in the direction you want. Several times we did this and found no one was actually going in the opposite direction and we managed to over ride it by pushing the number frequently. This can only be done if the buttons haven't been pressed already 

 

You're right with the restaurant as I verified with the deckplan.  "La" vs "Le".  With the elevators, it's more like you can't even get in (even the opposite direction) during peak times.  

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This has been amazing.  Thank you so much for this review and the information.  Our trip isn't until October, but you are making me so excited.  Just curious, with the Cirque show, do you think that with the premium seating, it's better to have an upfront stage seat, or a balcony seat?

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Posted (edited)

BUMP

Edited by fsls40
wrong post

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On 6/22/2019 at 1:08 PM, karrie3399 said:

This has been amazing.  Thank you so much for this review and the information.  Our trip isn't until October, but you are making me so excited.  Just curious, with the Cirque show, do you think that with the premium seating, it's better to have an upfront stage seat, or a balcony seat?

 

We've had balcony seats both times.  I wanted to try floor seats this second time (two weeks ago) but by the time they got to us in line they were full on the floor. People lined up an hour before the show. If you're short and in balcony seats you may need to stand to see.  I leaned all the way forward across the table top to watch.  Otherwise the view was fine!

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On 5/21/2019 at 7:14 AM, NutsAboutGolf said:

Today is my FIRST day back at work after missing six business days, I will upload the dailies when I can (unless another reviewer beats me to it) but I think it'll be Thurs or Friday because I have some work down time.  I wrote my style of mini-review on the plane.

 

I’m going to do this mini review a bit differently, I’m just going to list my top tips for the Epic and review of the ports.

Some tips with the Epic:

1.       Anyone can access Deck 18 (when its open), to get there go on Deck 15 by the Buffet/Garden Café there are stairs on the Starboard side and a glass elevator near those stairs.

2.       All the way to the front on deck 13 is the bridge viewing room, I highly recommend visiting.

3.       You can book the Pascillia show and Burn the floor show along with dinner reservations before your cruise starts, try the mobile app or online, if no luck try calling reservations.  I was told by the Taste hostess they don’t accept reservations, perhaps the Manhattan room, Shanghai or the even o'Sheehan allows them to be made in advance.

4.       With the shows, I found you could simply walk into any (free) venue, keep an eye out for 2+ people to leave (1 person leaving may only be grabbing a drink or visiting the rest room) and take their seats.  While this isn’t exactly guaranteed,  I saw this first hand for several shows and band performances.

5.       This generally goes for most cruises, if you want a table by the window, politely ask and mention that you’re willing to wait.  If you have an actual reservation, consider arriving 15mins early to request the window table and perhaps you’ll get one without waiting very long.  For me, every time I visited Taste, whether breakfast/lunch/dinner I was able to get one without waiting.  I waited about 15mins at both Shanghai(no reservation) and Moderno (reservation, arrived 10mins early).

6.       For Breakfast and lunch, the Le Bistro (French Restaurant) allows you to bring your buffet food in it to eat.  There is both busing staff and drink service to take drink orders.  It’s a lot quieter, the décor makes it a much better atmosphere and as far as I know there isn’t anyone enforcing any kind of dress code.  Get your buffet food, walk all the way to the “back” of the buffet and you’ll see stairs that go down to the French restaurant.  They do have a self-serve water, ice, coffee and juice machines.  On the sea day they even had a mini buffet with pizza.

7.       One of the top complaints with the ship is the incredibly slow elevators.  Get into the right mindset that every time you want an elevator it will take a few minutes and that when the door opens it could be too full to get in especially during peak times.  There are too few elevators for the number of passengers and Haven guests get priority.  Practice patience or do what I did, take the stairs every time.

8.       At Teppanyaki, the menu lists most two meat combinations but there are some combinations that aren’t listed and are allow such as steak and scallops.

9.       Shanghai/Noodle bar and Teppanyaki /Sushi offer Sake (filtered or unfiltered) which is included is covered by the UDP.  It’s delivered cold but you can order the filtered hot (don’t order the unfiltered hot).

10.   Ordering drinks from bars can be slow; quickest place to get a drink on the ship quickly was any bar on deck 7 (unless there’s an event going on at the bar).  If you have the UDP which is displayed on your card you shouldn’t advertise it in advance.  On the other end of the spectrum, if you plan on tipping extra with cash, advertise the cash.

 

I used Italy tours for all four of my booked tours; I did the hop off hop on (HOHO) bus on my own for Palma De Malloria and Post cruise Barcelona.

 

Pompeii, Sorrento & Positano:  Highly recommend this tour, as is.

Rome/Vatican City:  Coliseum, various Rome highlights and Vatican City, while I recommend this if you want to see two places in one day, I may suggest an entirely different option that may not even exist that’s affordable.  Both locations are extremely congested with the Vatican basically to sardine level.  For whatever reason, all tours seem to go to the Coliseum first, then they may or may not go to the Rome highlights then Vatican City.  If you want to go to the Vatican, I highly recommend you research it to ensure you know about the Museum, the 16th Chapel which doesn’t allow photography, etc.  I would attempt to find a touring company who would go to the Vatican as soon as possible, see everything I wanted to see in the Vatican then go to Coliseum and I honestly don’t think you even need to go inside the Coliseum.

 

Pisa and Florence:  Highly recommend this tour as is, first, buy your climb the pisa tickets in advance to ensure you can climb it during your time slot.  During your Florence free time I recommend two places, the roof top deck and the wine tasting place.

 

French Rivera: Nice, stop for photos for Nice, Monaco City and the Monte Carlos Casino.  I highly recommend this tour yet we made a group decision to go to the Monte Carlos Casino where we had drinks so we didn’t get to see the last locations.  The casino area I could access requires you pay 17 euros to get in but you get a 10 euro free play or 10 euro drink voucher.  I was hoping they had one-euro chips so I could buy about 30 to give out as gifts to my friends, family and coworkers but the lowest they had (at the time?) was five-euro chips.  The gift shop sold worthless souvenir chips for eight euros.

 

Palma De Malloria:  HOHO/Hop on hop off City Tour bus was great yet not their wifi; with multiple buses, even when nearly empty I only had the wifi work once.  I highly recommend the Sky Bar at Hotel Almudains for photos of the Cathedral which is open early and therefore fairly dead.  Order a sangria or perhaps you could run up, snap photos and leave.  HOHO does drop you off there and I recommend you go early and leave early.

 

Barcelona Post Cruise:  Same as last time, HOHO/Hop on hop off City Tour bus was great but not their wifi which I never got to work even over two days.  If you’re into taking photos from the highest point, I highly recommend the Tibidabo amusement park.  I got off the HOHO, walked about 15mins up the street, through the park then you have to pay to take the incline cable car up.  From there is the chapel which requires you pay 3 euros for the elevator.  Once you’re done and go down the cable car, I highly recommend Mirablau which overlooks the city with breathtaking views.  I just had the tapas and it was phenomenal.

 

Greetings, 

 

For your Pompeii, Sorrento & Positano tour with Italy Tours, was that a semi-private group tour OR a private tour?  I just tried to book the tour and was told that they do not offer it as a group tour anymore, just as a private tour due to time concerns. What was your experience? Your review was positive so I am confused. I would love this combination in a semi-private tour since the private tours are costly and it is just two of us. 

 

thanks!

 

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27 minutes ago, blueslily said:

 

Greetings, 

 

For your Pompeii, Sorrento & Positano tour with Italy Tours, was that a semi-private group tour OR a private tour?  I just tried to book the tour and was told that they do not offer it as a group tour anymore, just as a private tour due to time concerns. What was your experience? Your review was positive so I am confused. I would love this combination in a semi-private tour since the private tours are costly and it is just two of us. 

 

thanks!

 

 

We just got off this cruise today (from Rome).  We did the Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano tour with Italy Tours.  There were 15 of us (we did not know anyone but others were together).  It was a nice tour but being crammed in that bus was a little uncomfortable and hot.  We spent around a 2 hours in Pompeii then drove to Sorrento and had about 2 hours free time.  Sorrento was packed with people but it’s a nice town.  Next was Positano which all we did was get out at some landing high in the hills to take some nice scenery pictures.  On the way back to ship we did stop at the Lemoncello (sp?) factory.  It was a long hot day but we were glad we went.

 

The guide with us (Antonio) kept saying with traffic and crowds some things might not get to be done.  Not sure if any of this helps you.

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On 6/26/2019 at 7:24 AM, gatorchinsky said:

 

We just got off this cruise today (from Rome).  We did the Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano tour with Italy Tours.  There were 15 of us (we did not know anyone but others were together).  It was a nice tour but being crammed in that bus was a little uncomfortable and hot.  We spent around a 2 hours in Pompeii then drove to Sorrento and had about 2 hours free time.  Sorrento was packed with people but it’s a nice town.  Next was Positano which all we did was get out at some landing high in the hills to take some nice scenery pictures.  On the way back to ship we did stop at the Lemoncello (sp?) factory.  It was a long hot day but we were glad we went.

 

The guide with us (Antonio) kept saying with traffic and crowds some things might not get to be done.  Not sure if any of this helps you.

 

Thank you!  This information is very helpful. 

 

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