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Epic/Western Mediterranean Questions!

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Hello,

 

I'm late in prepping for my cruise, so I thought I'd put together a simple survey to get feedback from past cruisers to help me get started on an itinerary. Jumping on to the Epic soon and doing the Western Mediterranean for the first time. Thanks!

 

Landing in Barcelona the morning of departure, will I be able to drop off my bags at the ship and tour Barcelona (eyeing the Market and the Unfinished Cathedral)?

 

 

Can I use my Uber app in the following locations? If not, recommended mode of transportation?

Barcelona, Spain - 
Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 
Cannes, France - 
Palma, Majorca, Spain - 

 

What is your number one excursion, whether self booked or through the ship at the following locations?

Barcelona, Spain - 

Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 
Cannes, France - 
Palma, Majorca, Spain - 

 

What is your number one food/drink at each location? Is there anything that's unique to that location worth finding?

Barcelona, Spain - 

Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 
Cannes, France - 
Palma, Majorca, Spain - 

 

What souvenir would you recommend seeking out at each location?

Barcelona, Spain - 

Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 
Cannes, France - 
Palma, Majorca, Spain - 

 

If you had to give a single pro tip for traveling in the following locations, what would it be?

Barcelona, Spain - 

Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 
Cannes, France - 
Palma, Majorca, Spain - 

 

I have the specialty dining package, what are your top 3 specialty restaurants on the Epic?

1.

2.

3.

 

 

Thanks!

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1 minute ago, ColeThornton said:

Have you had a chance to peruse the various Europe ports of call forums?  A lot of the information you seek is already discussed in those forums.   I know you will find it a great resource.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/8-europe/

 

Oh great, I'll look through that. I've always focused on the NCL boards on this site

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, dbdb said:

 

Oh great, I'll look through that. I've always focused on the NCL boards on this site

 

What is your number one excursion, whether self booked or through the ship at the following locations?

If you had to give a single pro tip for traveling in the following locations, what would it be?

Naples, Italy - 
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - 
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - 

 

IMHO those are really worth doing private, I'd search your roll call and the port boards for private recommendations.  Those are crazy ports where some attractions are  great distance, doing public or the ship tours is slow and in-efficient.

 

I planned and did private in those three when I cruised arranging two large vans for almost 14 folks.  Was great rolling off right off the port and having the vans waiting for us and getting dropped off doorstep to each attraction.   

 

If these places are once in a lifetime then invest the $ and go private, like they say time is money and in these ports you simply don't have enough time to be waiting for tour assembly on the ship, the slowest shopper with the slowest watch at each stop.

 

What is your number one food/drink at each location? Is there anything that's unique to that location worth finding?

Barcelona, Spain -   Paella 

Naples, Italy - Gelato
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - Gelato  
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - Gelato

 

Enjoy your planning and cruise

Edited by chipmaster

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Posted (edited)

You don't say where you are flying in from, any where in North America is going to leave you knocked out by jet lag.  It might be worth it to just sit on the Hop on Hop off bus.  If planning on seeing La Sagrada Familia you need to book your timed ticket before you head to the airport or you will be waiting in a long line to get in.

Be smart about your stuff you can't check at the port and will have on your person all day, be aware of pick pockets.

Many places in Europe do not allow Uber -- use taxis or just regular public transportation.

Edited by Sauer-kraut

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3 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

You don't say where you are flying in from, any where in North America is going to leave you knocked out by jet lag.  It might be worth it to just sit on the Hop on Hop off bus.  If planning on seeing La Sagrada Familia you need to book your timed ticket before you head to the airport or you will be waiting in a long line to get in.

Be smart about your stuff you can't check at the port and will have on your person all day, be aware of pick pockets.

Many places in Europe do not allow Uber -- use taxis or just regular public transportation.

 

Thanks for all the info! We will be coming from NY and we're hoping to push through any jet lag since Sunday is the only day we'll get in Barcelona. Needing to lug around our stuff will be a hassle...that's unfortunate.

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2 hours ago, dbdb said:

 

Thanks for all the info! We will be coming from NY and we're hoping to push through any jet lag since Sunday is the only day we'll get in Barcelona. Needing to lug around our stuff will be a hassle...that's unfortunate.

 

There is a great place to store your luggage while visiting Barcelona.  You can store your bags using the BagBNB app. You have to make reservations in advance and then you just drop off your bags when you arrive.  The location I picked is just a block away from the huge department store - El Corte located right across from Plaça de Catalunya . Perfect for exploring all of the tourist areas in Barcelona.

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We're on the Epic in mid Sept.  I bought Rick Steves book " Mediterranean Cruise Ports".   Tons of great info, esp DIY suggestions.  Get a copy .... read it on the flight, take with you on the cruise.

In Barcelona we're doing a free walking tour of the Gotic area with Runner Bean,  a visit to the Market, walking Las Ramblas down to the Columbus monument where we'll go to the top for the view. 

 Naples -  I hired a private driver with Aldo Limos to explore the Amalfi Coast. $400

Livorno  - train to Florence

Civi  -- train to Rome

Palma -  walk around town

Cannes  -- train to Nice and Monte Carlo

 

Not into shopping or souveniers.  As for food, Rick has lots of recommendations .... we'll just have to see which is closest when it's time to eat.  Not a priority.

 

BTW, the Market in Barcelona isn't open on Sundays.

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1 hour ago, mapleleaves said:

BTW, the Market in Barcelona isn't open on Sundays.

 

Oh! Thats something I missed! Wife won't be so happy, so I will need to find an alternative...

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Posted (edited)

We sailed the Epic on the same cruise July 14 - 21.  Also coming in from NY, we arrived in Barcelona several days earlier to tour the city and get acclimated to the time zone change.

 

Can I use my Uber app in the following locations? If not, recommended mode of transportation?

Barcelona, Spain - 
We did try to use Uber from the airport to our hotel in Barcelona and the app said it wasn't available in the location.  We tried from the cruise ship terminal to the airport and the app said the same thing.  So from my experience, I don't think you can use it in Barcelona.  Never tried in the other cities as we had no use for it.

 

What is your number one excursion, whether self booked or through the ship at the following locations?

Barcelona, Spain - Barcelonadaytours.eu - took a private tour of the city and Montserrat.  Saw all the major sites and was given some great insight by our tour guide (Fagner).

Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno - We used italytours.eu for all three taking private tours.  Best money we spent.  Saw everything and then some.  Knowledgeable drivers, private guides in Pompeii and Vatican, absolutely would never have been able to do what we did without them.

Cannes - Walk to the market (Marche Forville), eat at a cafe, relax

Palma de Mallorca - Cab to Megaluf beach to get away from crowds, relax

 

What is your number one food/drink at each location? Is there anything that's unique to that location worth finding?

Barcelona, Spain - Estrella beer - the stuff is everywhere!  Cava (sparkling wine) quite good and local to the region.

Naples, Italy - Limoncello, the stuff is everywhere.  Get it from a restaurant, hopefully homemade. 
Cannes, France - Vino
 

What souvenir would you recommend seeking out at each location?

Naples, Italy - Cameos

Florence -  Leather goods

 

If you had to give a single pro tip for traveling in the following locations, what would it be?

Barcelona, Spain - Spend some time exploring the Gothic Quarter - very cool - lots of alleys, narrow roadways, it's like you're exploring a city 300 years ago...  Eat at Restaurant Salamanca down by the beach - great atmosphere, location, and food

Naples, Italy - Head to Sorrento, eat at Donna Sofia (good luck finding it, quite the "off the beaten path" place)
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy - Private guide for the Vatican - worth doing it or you'll miss out on a ton
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy - Skip Pisa (unless you want the pictures at the tower) and spend a lot of time at Florence - the statue of David is not to be missed
Cannes, France - enjoy the atmosphere, dine on French cuisine off the beaten path at a cafe
Palma, Majorca, Spain - Enjoy the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea

 

I have the specialty dining package, what are your top 3 specialty restaurants on the Epic?

1. Cagneys

2. Teppanyaki

3. Cirque Dreams (for the show, not the food/service)

Edited by Maleficent's Dad

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We did this cruise last May and it was great. I've got a fairly lengthy trip review if you want to know all of our favorites and lessons learned.

 

 

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You can find out where Uber is by looking up a fake route from any of those cities on your app. It’ll tell you if Uber is not available. I know it’s not in Barcelona and probably not in the others. 

 

Favorite Excursions/Foods/Pro tips:

 

Barcelona-

HOHO the whole city- beautiful architecture

La Sagrada Familia

Parc Guell

Tablao Cordobes- Flamenco dinner show

La Boqueria

tapas and churros w/ chocolate sauce

Use a travel wallet under your shirt as pickpocketing is prevalent in Barcelona.

 

Naples-

Cruise line excursion to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri- only do the cruise line excursion as it’s a very full day with little margin for error if delays occur

Canneloni

hard lemon candy in Sorrento and Capri

Lemon Granita drinks

 

Rome-

Cruise line excursion to Colosseum, Vatican, and city tour- only do the cruise lines excursion as you’ll have longer in Rome and no risk of missing the ship- Rome is quite a distance from the port, and we did experience delays that would have caused us to miss the ship had we not taken a cruise line excursion

Cacio e Pepe

Carbonara

Pizza

Gelato

Wear a travel wallet under your shirt as pickpocketing is prevalent in Rome. You’ll also be bombarded by tons of people pushing products into your hands; keep your hands occupied and avoid. Be aware of the current scams of thieves. They often operate in groups.

 

 

Florence-

Cruise line Florence/Pisa excursion to see the Leaning Tower and explore Florence. Florence is far away, so going with the cruise line eliminates the risk of missing the ship. We explored Florence on our own easily. If you want to visit the Uffizi museum, book tickets in advance. 

Gelato

Florence is known for their leather goods. 

 

I hacent been tk the other ports.

 

I love all the ports I just commented on; you’ll have a blast! Don’t be scared by the pickpocketing; just be vigilant. 

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Have you checked your cruise's roll call? I found some good and helpful info there as well as on the Italy, France, and Spain ports of call boards. I am going on Epic in September as well. We booked semi private excursions with ItalyTours.eu (in Florence and Naples), with Barcelona Day Tours (obvi in Barcelona) and we booked with NCL for Cannes (since this port requires tendering, I heard you get off ship sooner if you book with the cruise line, and also this is a more leisurely port so I didn't mind a potentially larger group). We are doing Mallorca on our own. We booked specialty dinners at Teppanyaki, Cagney's, and La Cucina based on recommendations I got on the boards. It is our first time with NCL and first trip to Europe-can't wait!!

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1 minute ago, LisaSp said:

Have you checked your cruise's roll call? I found some good and helpful info there as well as on the Italy, France, and Spain ports of call boards. I am going on Epic in September as well. We booked semi private excursions with ItalyTours.eu (in Florence and Naples), with Barcelona Day Tours (obvi in Barcelona) and we booked with NCL for Cannes (since this port requires tendering, I heard you get off ship sooner if you book with the cruise line, and also this is a more leisurely port so I didn't mind a potentially larger group). We are doing Mallorca on our own. We booked specialty dinners at Teppanyaki, Cagney's, and La Cucina based on recommendations I got on the boards. It is our first time with NCL and first trip to Europe-can't wait!!

 

Yes! I found some good info through the roll call. I was a little skeptical about IT.EU because it was referenced SO MUCH (seemed like spam), but after finding some more outside reviews, I will probably book some spots with them soon. 

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HI - I traveled on this ship 5 years ago and used the following company for transportation to and from Florence. They were prompt, were able to get us to the front of the line at the museums (we had prepaid our entrance fees), and made sure we made it back to the ship in plenty of time. Wouldn't hesitate to use them again. 

https://www.livornotoflorence.com/

 

In Naples, I used the below company. I actually learned about them when I was in Barcelona, did some quick googling, and decided to book the trip for when we arrived in Naples. Excellent service, no issues with getting back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. 

http://cantbemissedtours.com/naples-to-pompeii-sorrento-the-amalfi-coast

 

Food tip: eat the gelato everywhere in Italy. All of it. You won't be sorry. 

 

Have fun. 

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Number one food in Cannes - visit Paul Bakery.  I had their tarte citron.  Better than home made.  In France they like you to say something French.  'Bonjour' when you enter the shop.  Then I practiced my schoolgirl French "je voudrais un tarte citron".    It is 50 years old  so no idea if it was right, but I got my tarte.  

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10 hours ago, LisaSp said:

Have you checked your cruise's roll call? I found some good and helpful info there as well as on the Italy, France, and Spain ports of call boards. I am going on Epic in September as well. We booked semi private excursions with ItalyTours.eu (in Florence and Naples), with Barcelona Day Tours (obvi in Barcelona) and we booked with NCL for Cannes (since this port requires tendering, I heard you get off ship sooner if you book with the cruise line, and also this is a more leisurely port so I didn't mind a potentially larger group). We are doing Mallorca on our own. We booked specialty dinners at Teppanyaki, Cagney's, and La Cucina based on recommendations I got on the boards. It is our first time with NCL and first trip to Europe-can't wait!!

About Cannes and tendering.  We have never had difficulty getting off reasonably early.  Cannes is lovely to wander around, or get to the bus or train station and get to Antibes for the morning (market is raved about although we were not looking for fruit and veg, we got a bit of sticker shock).  Go back to Cannes in the afternoon.  

 

Tender tickets are booked through TV.  You can do it as soon as you board.  When I was last on the Epic they were  hidden a bit.  I think I found them under 'entertainment'.  There is bound to be a bit of a crush for the first tenders until they get things going.  Once they have boats up and running it is only a short journey.  

 

Last time we went to Cannes we hopped straight onto a ferry to take us to Isle St Marguerite.  It was our 30th wedding anniversary.  It was lovely and peaceful wandering around the Island.  We went in November.  I would anticipate that mid summer it would be much busier, but nice for a swim.  

 

It is a great cruise.  

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Epic specific question - does anyone have any good hacks for the bathroom situation? Not a fan of the open bathroom space. Can things be hung on the doors so that it becomes a little more private. Any sound/smell dampening techniques?

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 There is a curtain in the stateroom  which can be drawn and separates the bathroom/shower area from the rest of the room. We had the thermal spa pass, and use their facilities daily, especially the showers. For us, the thermal spa was a very worthwhile investment. 

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4 hours ago, dbdb said:

Epic specific question - does anyone have any good hacks for the bathroom situation? Not a fan of the open bathroom space. Can things be hung on the doors so that it becomes a little more private. Any sound/smell dampening techniques?

 

For sounds, you have to use the Japanese techniques and make sure that noise is playing.  For smells - well you have to eat moderately the night before.  

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15 hours ago, dbdb said:

Epic specific question - does anyone have any good hacks for the bathroom situation? Not a fan of the open bathroom space. Can things be hung on the doors so that it becomes a little more private. Any sound/smell dampening techniques?

We bought spa passes, shower there.

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Our Epic voyage is in a couple of weeks. But here are some of our choices. 

 

Barcelona planning an ebike guided tour of the city and beach area with tapas and wine at the end. Google and you'll find it.

 

Jazz on top of Casa Mila, go to the website for info and tickets. 

 

Sagrada Familia Sunday AM and maybe HoHo as a riding tour.

 

All port tours are through NCL

1. Naples - Exclusive Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii.

2. Rome & Vatican 

3. Florence & Pisa on our own, no museums planned. We will stroll, shop and eat in Florence. I could climb the tower in Pisa, but that would mean we see less of the town.

4. Cannes - Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo 

5. Palma - beach day excursion

6. Barcelona- NCL transfer and am flight home 

 

Shopping 

Positano- custom sandals

Rome - momentos

Florence - leather gloves, portfolio and my mother is always up for shoes or handbags 

Cannes - film festival shirt or trinket 

Monte Carlo- Grand Prix item for my teen nephew

Barcelona or Palma - wine

 

Food

Tapas, Pizza, Gelato, Limoncello, pasta, local pastries

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