First ever cruise: Norwegian Epic from Rome (7 nights) | Australian Frequent Flyer
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First ever cruise: Norwegian Epic from Rome (7 nights)

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mella2007

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
1,100
Have just arrived home in Australia from a long trip in Europe...of which the highlight was the much anticipated cruise on the EPIC leaving Rome on the 10th July for 7 nights.

This was our first ever cruise (Husband and I...mid 30's) and my first ever review, so please don't attack me if there's something I didn't like that you did, or don't like the review. Each to their own with experiences and opinions!

First, I'd like to outline some basics on what we did on board and then further posts in the coming days will be daily info with some pictures and other in depth information.
I am really hoping that people that haven't cruised before, people trying NCL for the first time and even people that are not USA based will get a lot out of it....and that's no disrespect to any American friends....but as cruise ships in general are very US centric, there are some differences that people from other countries may either not be used to or find different from their home country which may provide useful.

Basically we LOVED LOVED LOVED it! Had a brilliant time....the ship and crew were terrific and there was plenty to do for all ages. We have definitely found our new love in life and are booking again for July next year with NCL. Interesting we chatted with many people on board that have sailed on RCCL and said it's better. I honestly don't understand the differences they meant, as dining at the same time every night has no appeal to me whatsoever. Is it the activities? the food? Well we were happy with all that!

ROOM: We were on Deck 11 forward in a Balcony room (11064). Honestly we thought the room was fine. A little tight squeeze to move past each other in front of the bed/tv (our bed was balcony end) but that was ok! Bathroom was good, balcony and view stunning, short walk to the lifts, and no noise whatsover. We would be happy in this room again. Pillows and linen comfortable and clean. Room always spotless. Useful coffee maker. Bar fridge which you can ask to be emptied out. Heaps of storage, lighting ok. Shower pressure excellent.

We pre paid and pre booked for everything in advance. Our OBC they had to give us money back especially after we won Deal or no Deal.
We booked shows and dinner in advance also. Was really no need to. With the exception of Blue Man and Circque, there were plenty of walk ins available in all restaurants at various times and also for the other shows.

PORTS: We got off in Livorno (NCL Tour to Pisa), Palma (NCL Tour of Majorca and Valdemossa), Barcelona (Private driver/guide for 5 hours booked with Barcelona Day Excursions), Naples (Shuttle to Sorrento via Cruising Excursions).

DINING ON BOARD THAT WE TRIED: Cagney's (twice) which we loved, La Cucina (just ok), Moderno (fantastic), Le Bistro (disappointing food and service), Taste, O'Sheehans, Great Outdoors, Garden Buffet

WHAT WE DID: Renewed our wedding vows on board via booking through NCL group events. As we were the only couple on board that had booked it, we had the bridge room to ourselves, 2 Officers, fantastic guest coordinator and the whole thing was just spectacular (flowers, cake, champagne, dinner, certificate, and lots more!).
We played Trivia quite a few times, won Deal or no Deal!, watched some dance classes, went to the Ice Bar, Bowling, Shopped on board, went to an Art Auction, used the Internet package, used Room service, went to the Day Spa for a couple of things, watched live music, Saw Legends, Blue Man Group, Howl at the Moon, used the waterpark, Casino every night, Lotto draws, and lots of other stuff.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND SOME USEFUL INFO (I hope!)

*The casinos are VERY quiet during Med cruises. Numerous crew we spoke with said it's like this during every summer season in Europe, as Europeans don't like to gamble. So for those of you that like to gamble or don't like to smoke, rest assured there was plenty of room and the air was clean!

*There doesn't feel like there are 4000 people on board even on the one sea day. The ship is well laid out and there are plenty of activities and areas to relax or have fun depending on your interest.

*They do enforce the dress code. We didn't eat in The Manhattan room, but we saw plenty of people getting turned who were wearing nice dress shorts. When they stipulate pants and shirt for men they do enforce it!

*As a lot of the Med cruises have various ports where people embark/disembark (ours had the option of Rome, Marseille, Palma and Barcelona) things are very well organised. You would never even realise unless you saw luggage outside someone's door. Cudo's to the crew and NCL for such an easy process.
Also a lot of things don't change over until Barcelona each week as that is the main port for this cruise. So things like Tax refunds, certain sales at the shops, Laundry, Welcome to NCL talks, Port talks and a few other things do not tick over until Barcelona comes around again. I didn't even notice until I saw the Freestyle for Barcelona day and then I realised (and the crew mentioned it to me also).

*Laundry: They offer laundry bag once. Fantastic value at $24.95. We actually had a couple of items that wouldn't fit (and we tried!) so I was prepared to have them laundered separately, but our Room Steward told us not to worry and he would fit them in (which he did).

*Tipping: For those of you that don't live in the USA or are not used to tipping, I would highly recommend to bring some US dollars on board in case you wish to. Of course you have already pre paid your tips, but knowing I am going on an American cruise line does make me aware that sometimes it is just plain polite to tip extra should the service be extra special. Australia normally find it hard to give you US $1 bills during currency exchange, so if you have trouble the banks normally have them (Commonwealth for me). We brought 100 $1 bills with us plus some extra. There is also a couple of ATM machines on board which we used for the casino.
We tipped our Room Steward an extra $50, a couple of wait staff, Room service and anything delivered to the room.

*A lot of the crew on Epic at the moment will be going to the Breakaway in Feb. A lot of their contracts finish in September and October and are very excited to be going onto a new ship, but also the fact that a lot of crew have friends and family in New York (even a lot of foreigners), so to see the excitement for them was really nice.

*Where possible (for us Aussies anyway) booking with NCL is not the most cost effective option even if you buy one of the cruise certificates on board. We booked via an online agency in the USA when the dollar was better and got a terrific deal, way lower than the NCL price even with OBC! I would definitely do this again if our dollar was higher (unfortunately at the moment it's not).

*I find 90% of other travellers happy and considerate. But the other 10% were just plain rude. Many crew I interacted with stated the same (especially on EU cruises when you get so many nationalities on board) that some cultures are just the rudest people you could possibly encounter....closing doors on lifts quickly so you can't get in, giving you dirty looks if you happened to smile their way, allowing their children to press every button in the lift, pushing into you as they walk past, rudely pushing ahead in lines. So for those of you that haven't travelled much or haven't been on a cruise...yes there will always be rude people no matter where you are or what you do. My room steward told me clients of his would not speak to him, but rudely point at him and yell at him to "come here" while pointing. I don't care what your culture teaches you, but there are a few nationalities that need some manners and NO service so they can see what a disgrace their behaviour is.

*Spa Passes: Only 13 people brought a Spa Pass (and the area was completely empty all week!) as the Spa lady told me. She said on Port Intensive cruises they never sell out, especially the EU cruises. They were advertised daily in specials and the Freestyle.

*Pool Area: No problems with getting a chair at any time of time. Again, no problems! Only thing I think NCL needs to police better is kids running when it's wet as I could see quite a few slips happening.

*Chef Dinner: This was advertised when the Freestyle came out for Barcelona (which was Day 5 into my cruise) and was available for Palma night and Naples night. They were obviously booked already by the time I boarded in Rome, as I had not heard about them for the first 5 days in any Freestyle.
Cost was $89 from memory (need to check Freestyle)

*Having photos taken is fun by the ship's photographers. But if you're one to pick on yourself in photos, then do go to some effort if you want nice shots...hair and make up done makes a difference especially with the close ups!

*Internet on board was very quick. I'm guessing the sateillite wasn't too far from a main signal. Mind you, the 100 mins I purchased was gone by Day 5, and this was even taking into account I had internet available when we docked or left the ports.

*Do fill out a hero card if someone has given you great service. These go a long in terms of promotion and extra incentives. If there aren't any in your room just go down to Guest Services or ask your Room Steward to get you one or more!

*There is food to suit every budget and taste! The quality of the food I thought was excellent mostly with only one major let down (Le Bistro...more on that later) and just the general smell and ambience of the Garden Buffet...that place depressed me and we tried to avoid it as much as possible!

*There are quite a few parties on board including White Hot Party, FABBA Party, Traffic Light Party, and Dress up or Not night. We did venture down to White Hot where about 20 people had turned up....quite a non event!!
And everyone kept pretty casual on this cruise...we got nicely dressed every night...me in a dress, hubby in pants and funky top/shirt...but that's just how we normally dress here at home when going out.

*If venturing out in Port, a photocopy of your passport and NCL Room card is enough ID for Med ports. AND WATCH YOUR BAGS, DON'T TAKE ONE IF YOU DON'T NEED TOO!!
Two ladies we spoke to on 2 separate occasions had their bags pick pocketed (Palma and Barcelona) As the crew said, and even as we saw on our travels....scammers in Europe target American and Chinese tourists mostly due to carrying backpacks, camera bags etc etc. It screams tourist.
We watched the scammers from afar in Rome, Barcelona and Palma...and actually warned a few travellers words like "Mate, watch your stuff there are scammers around" People look at you like you're idiots!! We are only trying to help. Being from a Euro background we don't look like tourists, but want to help others less informed that these things happen on a daily bases. Please take as less off port as possible...don't use a bag if you don't need to.
I have travelled Europe 4 times now and never had a problem...because nothing is visible on me and Hubby doesn't carry a thing in his pockets either.
 

mella2007

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
1,100
Day 1:

As first time cruisers and living in Australia we had never had an interest in going on a cruise before. We are not a fan of the cruise lines and ships that are based in Australian ports due to the itineraries available and what is available on the ships. P&O are the most popular line here and we have heard too many bad stories of party cruises, overrun with children, and rough seas.
When looking at what line to choose, it had to fit in directly with other parts of our 5 week Europe trip that had already been pre booked and it came down to NCL Epic and RCI leaving from Venice. I didn't do very much research on either....chose it basically on the ports that were available and the convenience in not having to back track to Venice, as we had onwards flights to Greece booked from Rome. So the Epic it was. The fact that I then realised it was Freestyle was a perfect fit for us, as we don't like dining with people we don't know and like to go with the flow and do what we want, when we want whenever we're away.

I actually started the roll call for the cruise, but the thread was fairly quiet with most people during our week getting on in Barcelona. There was no meet and greet organised and I didn't meet or speak to anyone who was on Cruise Critic.

We arrived in Rome the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. We normally stay in Hilton hotels wherever possible in major cities and as we arrived late at night we chose this property as opposed to the Waldorf Cavalieri (which we stayed at the night after the cruise finished).
Had pre booked our private driver through Bob's Limos which arrived early at around 10:45am and drove us to the port (took just over an hour). Cost was 110 euro from memory.

Arriving at the port was very very exciting and the Epic was the only ship that was docked there that day. The sun was shining and everything was very exciting! We walked our own luggage into the porter area and then waited in line to check in. Approx a 15 min wait and everything well organised. They had run out of Freestyle Dailys for the first day so we had no idea what was on or our options.
Once we had received our cruise cards we walked straight on board, into the lifts and went to find our room on Deck 11. From previous posts I had read on here I knew that Red was for even and Blue was for odd. We were fortunate that our room (11064) wasn't too far from the lifts (which were never full or slow the entire week we were there).

The ship looked fantastic. I know people mention how ugly it looks, but when you have never cruised before or seen a ship up close, everything looks fantastic!!

Arriving into the room and I had no expectations. I had seen photos, but it certainly wasn't as small as I was lead to believe. It would be fine for the week. Having a balcony does make a difference in having that extra space and we used it a lot.
Everything was clean, well maintained and comfortable. We had received a few letters on arrival (regarding the Romance package I had pre purchased, the soda package, slot coupons) but no sign of anything to do with the Vow renewal package (of which I was told we would have upon arrival). Also received a letter that the Legends show had changed schedule and we would be now seeing it the following night instead of tonight. We had pre booked reservations at La Cucina the following night of which I had to change times (and reservations were quite difficult over the phone to comprehend what I was trying to do). No sign of our Room Steward until after 6pm that night (he had a few hours off in the afternoon) but he was always available and around after that and throughout the stay. His name was Rod (Rodrigo) and he was very friendly, hard working and genuine.

We went for a walk to find something to eat and went up to Deck 14 trying to find the buffet. We ended up outside at The Great Outdoors where I tried to convince DH that this wasn't the buffet and surely there was more food available than this!! (First time cruisers and had no idea!!). After he got a hotdog and some fries we found the buffet and eventually found a seat (I was surprised how many people didn't get off in Rome, as the buffer area was very crowded at around 1:30pm). There are lots of things to eat, but I found the area as a whole like a massive school camp. And it smelt very musty and not very pleasant. There were some problems trying to find somewhere to sit, but we eventually did, quickly ate and left.

Got our bearings and tried to visit all the main areas of the ship. We found the interactive maps really helpful, as well as the screens showing what's on and where. Visited the Guest Services desk to try and sort out doubling up that I had paid for with the Romance Package and Vow Renewal package (both included dinners, champagne and other things plus we had already pre purchased the 3 dinner special via NCL's website). It didn't end up getting resolved until the wedding coordinator fixed it up later in the week and credited our account with OBC due to the fact we don't drink alcohol and we wouldn't be able to eat at all the speciality restaurants that were part of our packages plus the ones I had pre booked!! Confusing yes!

Went back to our room and had an afternoon siesta (which would be a recurring theme the whole time we spent in Europe!) and woke up in time to get ready for dinner at Cagney's.
We received a table right by the window and how magical it was to see the sea floating by our window, while receiving wonderful service from the team in Cagney's.
The home made warm bread was fantastic, and for main the Rib Eye was tender but slightly undercooked the way we prefer it. We were too full for dessert but our waiter explained they could send whatever we liked via room service later in the night, which we happily accepted and were quite surprised about.

After spending some time in the casino after dinner, we walked around, had a look at the shops on board as they were now open (We didn't realise that the shops don't open until the ship starts to sail). Everything in the shops is in USD plus tax. There is a tax refund special time open during the cruise, as well as being able to claim at the airport when you leave Europe. Coming from a country where prices are greatly inflated we found the shops on board to be very cheap and some fantastic specials when they have their sales on.

A stop in at Howl at the Moon on the way back to our room was quite enjoyable. It just amazes me the money that people were throwing them to sing songs. I heard a couple in the lift comment on how crap they were compared to another Howl at the Moon they had seen elsewhere in the US. Yes the female singer wasn't that great, but at the end of the day it's entertainment and you can choose to walk away if you don't like it.

I always find it funny being in the lifts with other people. On a European cruise line you never know who speaks or understands English, and quite a few times people would be having a fight, complaining about things, or even discussing people in the lifts. We just don't say a word and enjoy the goings on! If you want some entertainment don't speak in a lift...it's amazing what people say when they think other people don't understand English!!

Our dessert was waiting in the room when we returned, and we had a really good night's sleep. We did wear the sea bands the first couple of days, but as the Med is so smooth we realised we didn't need them at all. If anything the bedding was too warm and the room was a bit hot, it took a couple of days to adjust the room temperature the way we liked it so it wasn't too cold either!
 

mella2007

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
1,100
Day 1:

As first time cruisers and living in Australia we had never had an interest in going on a cruise before. We are not a fan of the cruise lines and ships that are based in Australian ports due to the itineraries available and what is available on the ships. P&O are the most popular line here and we have heard too many bad stories of party cruises, overrun with children, and rough seas.
When looking at what line to choose, it had to fit in directly with other parts of our 5 week Europe trip that had already been pre booked and it came down to NCL Epic and RCI leaving from Venice. I didn't do very much research on either....chose it basically on the ports that were available and the convenience in not having to back track to Venice, as we had onwards flights to Greece booked from Rome. So the Epic it was. The fact that I then realised it was Freestyle was a perfect fit for us, as we don't like dining with people we don't know and like to go with the flow and do what we want, when we want whenever we're away.

I actually started the roll call for the cruise, but the thread was fairly quiet with most people during our week getting on in Barcelona. There was no meet and greet organised and I didn't meet or speak to anyone who was on Cruise Critic.

We arrived in Rome the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. We normally stay in Hilton hotels wherever possible in major cities and as we arrived late at night we chose this property as opposed to the Waldorf Cavalieri (which we stayed at the night after the cruise finished).
Had pre booked our private driver through Bob's Limos which arrived early at around 10:45am and drove us to the port (took just over an hour). Cost was 110 euro from memory.

Arriving at the port was very very exciting and the Epic was the only ship that was docked there that day. The sun was shining and everything was very exciting! We walked our own luggage into the porter area and then waited in line to check in. Approx a 15 min wait and everything well organised. They had run out of Freestyle Dailys for the first day so we had no idea what was on or our options.
Once we had received our cruise cards we walked straight on board, into the lifts and went to find our room on Deck 11. From previous posts I had read on here I knew that Red was for even and Blue was for odd. We were fortunate that our room (11064) wasn't too far from the lifts (which were never full or slow the entire week we were there).

The ship looked fantastic. I know people mention how ugly it looks, but when you have never cruised before or seen a ship up close, everything looks fantastic!!

Arriving into the room and I had no expectations. I had seen photos, but it certainly wasn't as small as I was lead to believe. It would be fine for the week. Having a balcony does make a difference in having that extra space and we used it a lot.
Everything was clean, well maintained and comfortable. We had received a few letters on arrival (regarding the Romance package I had pre purchased, the soda package, slot coupons) but no sign of anything to do with the Vow renewal package (of which I was told we would have upon arrival). Also received a letter that the Legends show had changed schedule and we would be now seeing it the following night instead of tonight. We had pre booked reservations at La Cucina the following night of which I had to change times (and reservations were quite difficult over the phone to comprehend what I was trying to do). No sign of our Room Steward until after 6pm that night (he had a few hours off in the afternoon) but he was always available and around after that and throughout the stay. His name was Rod (Rodrigo) and he was very friendly, hard working and genuine.

We went for a walk to find something to eat and went up to Deck 14 trying to find the buffet. We ended up outside at The Great Outdoors where I tried to convince DH that this wasn't the buffet and surely there was more food available than this!! (First time cruisers and had no idea!!). After he got a hotdog and some fries we found the buffet and eventually found a seat (I was surprised how many people didn't get off in Rome, as the buffer area was very crowded at around 1:30pm). There are lots of things to eat, but I found the area as a whole like a massive school camp. And it smelt very musty and not very pleasant. There were some problems trying to find somewhere to sit, but we eventually did, quickly ate and left.

Got our bearings and tried to visit all the main areas of the ship. We found the interactive maps really helpful, as well as the screens showing what's on and where. Visited the Guest Services desk to try and sort out doubling up that I had paid for with the Romance Package and Vow Renewal package (both included dinners, champagne and other things plus we had already pre purchased the 3 dinner special via NCL's website). It didn't end up getting resolved until the wedding coordinator fixed it up later in the week and credited our account with OBC due to the fact we don't drink alcohol and we wouldn't be able to eat at all the speciality restaurants that were part of our packages plus the ones I had pre booked!! Confusing yes!

Went back to our room and had an afternoon siesta (which would be a recurring theme the whole time we spent in Europe!) and woke up in time to get ready for dinner at Cagney's.
We received a table right by the window and how magical it was to see the sea floating by our window, while receiving wonderful service from the team in Cagney's.
The home made warm bread was fantastic, and for main the Rib Eye was tender but slightly undercooked the way we prefer it. We were too full for dessert but our waiter explained they could send whatever we liked via room service later in the night, which we happily accepted and were quite surprised about.

After spending some time in the casino after dinner, we walked around, had a look at the shops on board as they were now open (We didn't realise that the shops don't open until the ship starts to sail). Everything in the shops is in USD plus tax. There is a tax refund special time open during the cruise, as well as being able to claim at the airport when you leave Europe. Coming from a country where prices are greatly inflated we found the shops on board to be very cheap and some fantastic specials when they have their sales on.

A stop in at Howl at the Moon on the way back to our room was quite enjoyable. It just amazes me the money that people were throwing them to sing songs. I heard a couple in the lift comment on how crap they were compared to another Howl at the Moon they had seen elsewhere in the US. Yes the female singer wasn't that great, but at the end of the day it's entertainment and you can choose to walk away if you don't like it.

I always find it funny being in the lifts with other people. On a European cruise line you never know who speaks or understands English, and quite a few times people would be having a fight, complaining about things, or even discussing people in the lifts. We just don't say a word and enjoy the goings on! If you want some entertainment don't speak in a lift...it's amazing what people say when they think other people don't understand English!!

Our dessert was waiting in the room when we returned, and we had a really good night's sleep. We did wear the sea bands the first couple of days, but as the Med is so smooth we realised we didn't need them at all. If anything the bedding was too warm and the room was a bit hot, it took a couple of days to adjust the room temperature the way we liked it so it wasn't too cold either!
 

mella2007

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
1,100
Day 2

Our first morning waking up on the EPIC. We docked in Livorno (Florence) and had organised room service breakfast of tea/coffee, juice and pastries. This is a fantastic option available if you don't want to venture out early to grab breakfast somewhere.

We were going on a NCL excursion today to Pisa and the meeting place was Manhattan room at 8am. Well organised and coordinated on NCL's behalf, and I'm really happy we booked with NCL for a couple of our excursions just to see what the difference was comparing to what we booked on our own.
You receive a bus number and head out to the bus. Once onboard the guide talked non stop the roughly 45 min drive to Pisa. Quite informative and a real mix of tourists on board, but surprisingly no children. In fact, not one of our excursions had children on board which I found quite interesting.

Once we got to Pisa we got put into a Trolley type open bus from the carpark to the tower itself. We had about 3 hours on our own until we had to go back to the meeting place to go back to the ship.
You would think at that time of morning (10am) you would beat the crowds. Umm...not really. Heaps of buses and people around, and people were crammed outside every souvenir stall along the path where the tower is.
We basically just walked around, took some photos, brought some souvenirs and went and had something to eat at a restaurant. The tour guide suggest their meeting spot place to eat, but I'm not interested in supporting kick backs and never eat/go somewhere that a tour guide or sponsored company have suggested. We got 2 bottles of water complimentary as part of the ticket also.

Once back on board the ship at roughly 1:30pm I decided to call the Day Spa to see if they had any times free. I had my picks of times and decided to go then and there to get my nails refilled and some waxing done.
The Day Spa was big, well stocked of different products (at ridiculous prices even by my standards) but noisy....the kids area is quite close and there were children running in and out trying to find their way back there...which should be better controlled IMHO.
After filling in a general questionnaire I was brought to a treatment room by a therapist. A couple of interesting things regarding the spa which I didn't know. None of them are employed by NCL (rather by a company that specialises in those sort of employees) and also that they don't get paid any sort of base wage, everything is done purely on commission.
Not only did she try the hard sell with me while doing the waxing (and I'm not rude and do listen) but she complained how quiet it was on European cruises, that no one gets treatments done and that when cruising the Med no one tips. While I can sympathise with her situation, I don't think it's called for in a professional environment.
I paid $35 for an eyebrow wax which is the most ridiculous price I have ever paid for a beauty type treatment anywhere in the world. And nothing too special either!!
None of the "special" daily specials at the Spa excited me whatsoever. Over $150 for a facial is a rip off (plus tax of course)...so apart from also getting my nails done (where the therapist kept telling me how dry my skin was) that's all I did. For anyone who is used to getting acrylic nails refilled....don't bother on the Epic. They are slow, don't use the machines that give it a better finish and pretty poor choice of colours and brand to pick from.

Went to Trivia "Motown Name that Tune" in the Atrium before dinner. You get an activity card when you go to your first trivia and if you win or even participate you get a certain number of stamps of which you can redeem for merchandise at the end of the cruise. We ended up with 14 stamps by the end and "cashed" them in for 1 NCL water bottle. You gotta laugh!
Came 2nd in that particular trivia, with the entertainment staff host not being able to speak English too well which was a problem for some people listening. A lot of the time they repeat everything they say in Spanish also due to the high number of Spanish speaking guests on the ship.

Made our way to the Epic Theatre to watch Legends. Plenty of seats available and we were in the 3rd row. This has to be one of the poorest productions of entertainment I have seen in a long time. The dancers were terrible (out of time, routines done in the most silliest of songs), Tom Jones was weak, forced and a really bad impersonator, Tina Turner was ok....best by far was Adele who I chatted with after the show. (She is from Vegas and has been in the industry for quite a while). Backing band were fantastic. Timing of the show at just an hour was good...any longer and it would have been painful.

Dinner tonight was at La Cucina, their faux Italian restaurant. After being so impressed with Cagney's the night before it was a let down. More of a family diner than good italian food. Pasta was soggy, meat was tough...nothing to rave about.

The White Hot Party was also on tonight...we ventured down there and there was hardly anyone there! Plus after 10pm when they say children are not allowed any longer, they were still allowed to stay. I'm guessing because of the poor turn out they weren't fussed on the rules. It was never cold during the whole 7 nights...just perfect weather during a very hot European summer!

After walking through the casino and seeing what else was happening, we ventured to our room for some television at around midnight.
For those that like watching tv in their rooms, the Epic has more channels than I expected plus paid movies. There is 1 favourites movie channel, 1 favourites tv channel, then usual BBC world, some channels in Spanish and Russian, kids channels, cruise channel, and a few others. Usually there was something to watch.

Going back into the room at night we were left the Freestyle for the following day which we loved reading as well as a cute towel animal!! Quite a laugh every night when we returned. The only day we didn't get the Freestyle was the night before we disembarked.

Overall so far we were relaxed, enjoying the ship and the facilities and found the crew to be happy, smiling and always saying hello whenever we walked past.

The ship when we first arrived
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...psb3b65656.jpg

Corridor
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps10342a37.jpg

Leading into Spice H2O area
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps851debae.jpg

TV at H2O
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps2f29dc0d.jpg

Outside the pools area
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps46f06e70.jpg

The cup you get when purchasing the soft drink package
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps6013869f.jpg

View from room to balcony
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps42ca1a3c.jpg

Roses and TV area
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps5f85ebef.jpg

Bed
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...psa7e8709a.jpg

Sink
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps92cdacad.jpg

Shower fittings
http://i1330.photobucket.com/albums/...ps7d7ec611.jpg
 

mella2007

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
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Day 3.

How fascinating to wake up every morning in a different port! For a first time cruiser to step onto the balcony and see different surroundings and views was fantastic.
We didn't bother getting off in Marseille today as we had spent time on the French Riviera prior to arriving in Rome and we wanted to spend more time on the ship and have a just to relax after a very hectic two weeks of travelling thus far before arriving on the Epic.


After a lazy start to the day we headed up to the buffet at around 11:30am to get something to eat as a late breakfast. A combination of trying pizza, salad, chili con carne, salami and fruit makes a very laughable start to the day!! Normally at home we don't eat breakfast at all so we didn't go overboard on the cruise either (But hey, come to think of it that prior description makes it seem like we eat plenty!).


Pottered around the ship today and wanted to try as many things as possible. Found the chat in the atrium with the Cruise, Hotel and F&B Directors fascinating and very informative.
DH and I spent time in the pool area and he wanted to try the big water slides. Quite a wait to get a tube for the big orange one (about 15 mins) but he absolutely loved it. All around those areas is very very slippery, and there are kids running around everywhere....so take care, as it seems a lot of parents show no supervision towards their children whatsoever while in the pool areas which really makes me angry. I'm betting those same people if an incident was to occur they'd have no problem in blaming NCL.


Mid afternoon dessert at O'Sheenans, which is for those of you that don't know is a pub type atmosphere. I don't know why people rave about it. It smells...the tables are sticky and the food was probably the worst of anywhere in the ship. The menu slightly changes from breakfast to afternoon and snacks. Service however is really quick (food out within 3-4mins) so if you're in a hurry it would be ok I guess.


That night we enjoyed watching Epic's version of Dancing with the Stars hosted by the Cruise Director Jill and via a video link backstage Assis Cruise Director Richard. They were both enjoyable to watch and interacted well with the guests. The comp itself was funny, with guests paired up with an Epic crew member. Some good prizes to be won (I believe the girl that won got some NCL merchandise plus heaps of makeup and perfume) so if you're into those types of things...volunteer!


Dinner was booked for Le Bistro at 9:30pm which I had pre booked online at 45 days in advance. This was the most disappointing meal and service in the entire 7 days. Arrived at 9:25pm and was told that a group had arrived late and we wouldn't be seated until 10pm. I was not happy about this...I explained I had booked and paid well in advance to be scheduled at a certain time, plus we had made reservations at the Ice Bar at 10:30pm which they charge you for if you don't turn up.
There are 2 parts to be seated in Le Bistro...a main section, then a small section behind a curtain that is more like an afterthought of putting bigger group tables. It was noisy, the room smelt like bad foot odour and there was nothing romantic or nice about it at all. We were seated late and I made a complaint to the manager about the girl at the door and about our reservation at the Ice Bar being honoured.
We waited 25 mins for our soft drinks to arrive, the bread was cold and hard. DH tried the Escargot and I had some chicken in a shaped cone (tasty). Mains were Lamb Rack and Pork. Over cooked, but presentation was good, and not worth the additional dining charge.
We skipped dessert as the service and ambiance of the room was incredibly off putting. We were supposed to get another night in Le Bistro as part of our Vow Renewal package, of which we cancelled the next day....we just didn't want to go back there..package or not (they changed it to Cagney's for us instead at our request, and I was happy to pay the extra as the difference but our coordinator told us not to worry).


Had to cancel our reservation at the Ice Bar of which the manager assisted in doing so we wouldn't be charged the full rate of $20 per person.


Quite a few sales going on every night at the shops and lots of "games" like guessing the price of diamonds etc etc. It was complete pandemonium at one point with people going nuts over $20 jewellery sets which comprised of usually a watch/bracelet/necklace or wallet/watch/pen. It was disgusting to watch. People were throwing the boxes everywhere, the shop assistants were ducking for cover, people were stealing things out of the boxes...all of this for a $20 set. I calmly picked up one and handed it to the assistant who just looked like she was going to cry...another customer was screaming at her that he wanted to buy things and how horrified he was at the human race for stealing out of the boxes. Other people were fighting in Russian and Spanish....I just couldn't believe and cannot understand why people go nuts at sales...and I'm a female!!
There has to be a better way to control all of this happening. Don't put them all out on display (literally probably 300 boxes)...just one of each and keep the rest at the floor in piles behind the tables. And then people have the nerve to complain about tax added on top (many American customers were complaining). To me, $20 plus tax was a bargain, even if the quality is just so so.


Always interesting also to see the various Art auction promos. The prices are completely inflated but they obviously make money...as he was prepared to drop $500 on a piece we like...which we looked up online and we could purchase for $600 when they were asking $1400.


We purchased the 100mins Internet package for when we weren't at Port and ran out of it by the 2nd last day. I don't know how they judge minutes...but my watch 2 mins was about 7 mins in their timings..so I felt we got ripped off. Also got an extra 10 mins free for liking NCL on Facebook.
Internet did work...probably similar to ADSL 1 speeds or just slightly slower...but it did the job when I needed to check emails. Was able to use via either the computers in the internet cafe, my iphone or iPad.


Watched some live music in the Atrium, had some coffee from the Atrium cafe (Lavazza and is an additional charge) and went back to the room for some room service New York cheesecake and a pizza. Massive Pizza and great value at $5, however no charge for the cake.


All in all another fun day aboard the Epic.
 

Pushka

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Our med cruise last year on RCL mirrored the NCL epic cruise and we were together in Rome port on the same day. It's a great itinerary. I see the itinerary this year is a bit different. We had Barcelona, Toulon, Villefrance, Livorno, Rome and Naples.

Are the bathrooms as unusual as I've read about? That's what made me choose the Liberty in the end.

Isn't it great to wake up and push aside the curtains and see where you are today? And I Love sail away!

You mentioned dining at the same time on RCL Liberty of the Seas as being a negative but we didn't do that as we had MTD.and we always had a table for just the two of us. Liberty is a beautiful ship.

We didn't have all those nasty sales scenes.

Our issue with RCL was with our credit card. They kept refusing us service because they said it wasn't valid. Wanted us to call Australia when it was in the middle of the night. We got so angry with their card issue that they have us free champagne, a meal, and strawberries. When we contacted our credit card provider when we got home they said they had not been contacted by RCL at all. The issue was totally within RCL's systems. We certainly don't have loyalty towards them and will cruise based on itinerary and not company.

And yes, the cruise was fabulous and we too are looking forward to our next one together which will be Alaska. Although I'm cruising on the Queen Mary 2 Adelaide to Hong Kong in March next year along with another AFF'er.

It certainly is addictive!

Thanks for the report as it brings back great memories.

For your next trip, get a TEP wifi device and plan. They are online to order. We used this throughout Europe and had wifi everywhere and onboard, in every port. Way cheaper than the ships plan and it was fast. And no cheating of minutes as its based on downloads.
 
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VPS

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How much was the internet for 100 minutes and could you use your ipad in your room?
 

erkpod

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How much was the internet for 100 minutes and could you use your ipad in your room?
I'd be curious to know that too.

I went on a cruise from Miami to Turks & back on The Majesty Of The Seas (Royal Caribbean International) earlier this year, Wifi was 75c a minute.

Is wifi on European cruises cheaper?
 

mella2007

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It was $55 for 100 mins. Plus I got another 10mins free for liking them on Facebook.
 

Pilotdude09

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Enjoying the trip report!

Brings back some awesome memories of my cruise on the Epic last year. Awesome ship & awesome crew! Was an intense 7 days though!

I'm with you, amazing how many people don't think you speak english lol, especially Americans! I must admit I found the Russians on board the rudest people and had no manners what so ever.
 

casanovawa

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Hmmm, interesting stuff I'm thinking of taking a cruise in the next year or two just not sure whether to do it in Europe or the US...

And I am just back from a week in St Petersburg and Moscow and have to say i found the Russian's the rudest people i have come across (and i've been to a few places)... Like many i rib the Germans and the French, but the Russians put them all in the shade and made them seem like model hosts...
 

mella2007

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Do it in Europe. The Americans complain about everything and think its "their" cruise with no regard for anyone else. As for the Russians...incredible and the Chinese also.
 

Pushka

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Don't get me started on Russians and their niets and their boorish behaviour. It isn't cultural, it just is what they do.

My hubby isn't a cruise person but he loved the European cruise.
 
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