Feel Free onboard the Norwegian Epic

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Announcing I wanted to plan my own honeymoon, adding “I prefer Hawaii to cruising” has probably convinced people here I’m completely insane. The fact is that here cruises are a very popular way of seeing the world. It’s common practice to enjoy a cruise as a honeymoon, and maybe fall in love with it. In fact, I have friends who enjoy at least one cruise a year: they love this way of exploring, especially because it allows you to recharge your batteries. You don’t have to worry about anything at all.
My first experience with a cruise was traumatic. I was attending high school and my school organized a cruise through the islands of Greece. Fantastic, on paper. Too bad that the sea was so rough and the ship so small that there was a real hecatomb. Headaches, green-colored classmates, teachers panicking. Me? Not immune: I remember a terrible headache and a very upset stomach. That time I told myself that I would not cruise again. Ever.
Over the years, even if all my friends, relatives and acquaintances tried to drag me on a cruise, I always refused.
At least until I received a very special invitation. A press trip on the Norwegian Epic, with a maximum capacity of about 6000 crew members and guests, who had just returned from the Caribbean.
The Norwegian Cruise Line cruise would last three days in the Western Mediterranean, boarding in Barcelona, ​​Spain, with a stop in my beloved Naples and then disembarkation at Civitavecchia (RM). Feel Free aboard the Norwegian Epic… really?
Curiosity had the best of me: I finally had the opportunity to make a new experience and above all to understand, with a brief turnaround, how I would react to a real cruise.

#FeelFree

The concept “Feel Free” aboard the Norwegian Epic, but also all the NCL fleet, is very simple. It is to be understood as Do what you feel like doing. Those who opt for a cruise in the hopes of relaxing, in fact, often have to deal with tough reality. It is mandatory to dress in a certain way, to eat at certain times, with the risk of losing that really nice show or to have your children dine too late in the evening.
Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to change the cruising world, setting up a challenge that they easily won ad making it absolutely different from the traditional context. Introduced in 2001 on all the NCL fleet, Feel Free was popular with Norwegian cruise ships right from the start. Each boat offers up to 27 dining options, lounges, bars, theaters and several shows to choose from in the evening, according to your tastes. The restaurants where you dine are therefore open from 5:30 pm to midnight, with the chance to book in advance, both online and on board, even for the whole cruise. A very smart choice, I will tell  you more about it later on.
As for the long dress at shows or specialty restaurants, it is not mandatory as it is for other cruise companies. I have personally seen cruisers enjoying a dinner with a show, in a fairly elegant setting, wearing flip flops and shorts.
Let me add a little personal note, though. Although you can do what you feel like doing, and although I do not particularly like to doll up when I’m on vacation, there are some circumstances where it really is necessary. None of us would think of going to the theater wearing a swimsuit, right? Apply this concept to your NCL cruise, carrying with you at least one nice dress and maybe a pair of classy shoes even that nice pair of low-heeled sandals will do!) if you are going to treat yourself to elegant dinners or the wonderful evening shows . It’s Feel Free, not Shabby Free!
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Before you board

Before you embark you will need to submit a credit card for the cabin, as a guarantee and to open an account aboard, so make sure you have one available. Once aboard, you will not have to pull out the money (if you want, keep in mind that the accepted currency is the US dollar), you just need to use your room’s electronic key, signing up with the name and number of the cabin to pay for your purchases. The account is opened at the port at check-in and will be closed the night before the disembarkation. In the morning you will be provided with detailed statement of all charges. As soon as you open your account, a first authorization will be required to your bank. Usually it’s a deposit of $450 per person for 8 nights and more, $300 for seven nights and $150 for cruises shorter than 6 nights. Unused money will be returned on the day of disembarkation, however, some banks will take up to 30 days before unlocking the money.

If you plan to go straight to the pool as soon as you get on the ship, I recommend you to keep some clothes (and your swimsuit) in a backpack or a small trolley. In fact, bulky baggage must be registered at check in. If you get to the harbor with your NCL shuttle bus, it’ll be the staff to pick up the luggage for you. When luggage is checked, leave it to the crew (keep in mind that bulky luggage will have to be left out of the door in the evening before the landing, so you will need a small backpack or trolley to hold a spare for the next morning ), to get back in line. The check in just before boarding is, however, pretty fast. In fact, the over twenty clerks available allow you to quickly go through all the pre-boarding practices. You will be given a magnetic card that won’t have to be returned when you disembark. A nice souvenir that somebody even started collecting!

They will bring your luggage to your cabin in the afternoon or evening, hence why you need a spare with you!
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NCL Crew – Go with the flow

I want to tell you about my first impact with the Norwegian Cruise Line crew. As soon as I arrived at the airport in Barcelona, ​​I was directed to a group of cruisers waiting for their shuttle bus. Our guide was accompanying us to the bus when a woman in our group slipped, falling on the escalators. Well, this guy not only ran to help her, blocking the escalators, but he brought down on his own all the heavy luggage of those blocked on the escalators. He accompanied the lady to the bus and brought her luggage for her.
I have to say I was pretty impressed. Cruise Director Richard Janicki told me “The crew guidelines are simple, they have to smile and be always available. If there is a problem, they have to sort it out themselves, it doesn’t have to get to me.
And indeed it’s just what happens. As soon as I boarded, I was welcomed by a huge “Welcome aboard!” with loud music. A new adventure was about to start and I was pumped!

In the morning, down the corridor from my cabin to the lifts, as I walked through cleaning crew it was a continuous: “Good morning!” “Hey, how’s it going today?” It was impossible to keep frowning because I had been awakened too early, surrounded by so many smiling faces.

I’ve been observing the crew, from the waitress who left me cute animals made from towels to the security personnel. I’ve never noticed any rudeness. I think the NCL crew is one of the main reasons why this cruise company is so successful.

If the boat seems huge, however, be aware that a whole section of the ship is dedicated to on-board personnel. A small town with men and women from about 70 countries around the world (Philippines, Indonesia and India, mostly). Three main departments and over 1,700 crew members.
NCL, one of the first companies to hire women since 2000, with the beginning of the implementation of the Free Style concept, today goes up to the 40% of women.
The crew works on a ship for about three years, then gets moved to another. To try to prevent the boredom and the inevitable homesickness that no Skype call will ever sate, the company has hired specialists who deal with the crew’s entertainment. Evening movies and popcorn, basketball tournaments, yoga classes, in short, seem to love their crew at least as much as their guests.
Perhaps that is why they smile so much!

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Cabins – Something for every pocket

I stayed in a cabin with a balcony on deck 11. The cabin, very comfortable and bright, featured a beautiful glass door that opened onto a private balcony. I could enjoy the view of the sea … and even an different view of Vesuvius, as we sailed to Civitavecchia!
The bed was really comfortable and there was the chance of adding a third bed if needed. The cabin also had a nice leather couch that was very relaxing for me in the evening while I worked on my notes at my laptop. There were also more cabinets than I expected. I was greeted with a nice tray of chocolate frosted strawberries and a bottle of sparkling Brut, comfortable slippers and a soft white bathrobe: NCL probably wanted to spoil me!

With 41 different types of cabins, for a wide choice of options that meets all the needs of any type of cruiser, Norwegian Cruise Line is also mindful of prices. There are several types of cabins that allow you to enjoy a vacation at sea without spending too much. However, this does not mean that there is less attention in furniture or the services offered. One thing that has pleasantly impressed me was to see how silent the cabins were. Definitely a point in favor of NCL! Being able to retreat to that silent cocoon with a sea view to rest and recharge the batteries was wonderful!
Every type of cabin can accommodate up to four people and thus is very family friendly. With children’s or teenagers’ beds, a common space with sofa, table and television, a large bathroom and a bedroom for mom and dad, they seemed bigger than some studio apartments in Milan that I visited with my sister!

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Studios – Solo cruising

Another new feature by Norwegian Cruise Line is the introduction of the Studios. About 80 cabins (Norwegian Epic) specially designed for the solo cruisers. Available on NCL Epic, NCL Escape, NCL Getaway, NCL Breakaway and NCL Pride of America. These low-cost cabins accommodate one person (in a comfortable queen size bed) and are designed with a futurist touch. Neon lights changing color according to our tastes, a large circular window that opens onto the corridor and which can be left open or closed, TV… and dedicated areas. NCL in fact helps the interaction between guests by providing a Living dedicated exclusively to those who stay in their Studios, with bar, television and coffee tables. There is a billboard that accommodates guests’ requests: if you want to have a special hike or dine at one of the restaurants, just leave a message. If there are other cruisers that want to join you, they will write their name under yours. A coordinator then arranges the bookings for dinners, shows or excursions according to everyone’s preferences. You won’t be forced to participate to the activities, but it is really very easy to make new friends in this area of ​​the ship. Not surprisingly, NCL has been awarded the Best Sailing Company for Single Travelers prize by the Porthole magazine in 2012!
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The Haven – A luxury retreat

For travelers looking for the greatest luxury, NCL offers the The Haven complex. Private areas accessible only by magnetic key, with elegant suites, private access to The Haven Courtyard, a swimming pool and solarium that offer the maximum privacy, butler and personal concierges available 24 hours a day. Even the luxury of the Spa cabins (with hot tubs and priority access to the Mandara Spa) pale in comparison.

The Haven has a penthouse with balcony, deluxe suites with an entire glass wall to look out at the sea, and even family villas with two bedrooms and a nice balcony, designed for families consisting of four elements. Guests are offered Bulgari’s bathroom products.
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The The Haven Lounge is an elegant and refined lounge where there is a well-stocked bar open all day long. An oasis of total relaxation where you can read a book watching the sea or sip a drink. Connected directly to the guesthouse at the The Haven complex, it is also a waiting hall, although it is unlikely that guests have to wait for their table. Despite the comfortable armchairs and candlelight dinners with sea views, in fact, there are many guests who enjoy the butler service to have a romantic dinner in the privacy of their own cabin.
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The private Courtyard and Posh Beach Club areas are far from the crowded main deck 15, where most of the guests spending their days on the slides or stretching out in the sun. There’s silence, and even the sunbeds, soft, comfortable and immaculate, seem to highlight the concepts of luxury and good taste of the whole area. At The Haven, guests are offered breathtaking views of either the main deck or the sea from the private terraces, as well as outdoor jacuzzis, cocktail bars and private pools.
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Restaurants – All you can eat

The Norwegian Epic offers thirteen dining options included in the cabin price, and eleven specialties restaurants for which an extra fee is required. With 300 chefsengaged in the kitchen, the staff in the catering industry, run by the Executive Chef Alok Kumar, is committed to provide an unforgettable experience for guests on board every day.
The choice is endless and doesn’t forget anyone. In each menu it is clearly stated in clear view the vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes. However, I noticed that the waiters are particularly keen to answer any doubts and to meet even the most complex demands.
It is possible to book dinners in the main restaurants and specialties with 90 days in advance, online, choosing your favorite time, to avoid the crowds. The system adopted on board however allows you to have a quiet a walk while waiting for a free table. The waiting guests are in fact given a device that will start blinking to alert them to go back to the restaurant: the concept “Feel Free” is obviously reflected even in the smallest of details!
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Among the main restaurants I particularly liked the Manhattan Room, an art-déco style club on deck 6, with a wonderful stage on which a pianist performed to entertain cruisers, in a romantic and very elegant atmosphere. The Garden Café, an inevitable stop for my breakfasts (and lunches), is one of the few safe places for late lunchers like me. Opened almost all day, it has a large buffet with cooks preparing meals in front of you. You can eat Italian, Mexican, ethnic food, desserts, salads and there’s even a nice gelato maker. Breakfast ranges from eggs and bacon, meat and beans, to pancakes, waffles and a selection of different desserts each day. Large white sofas or elegant upholstered chairs next to the windows are available for guests to enjoy such delicacies, accompanied by a breathtaking view.
The Spice H2O is a restaurant and club for adults only. With two hot tubs and a central swimming pool, it offers spicy foods and drinks for lunch and dinner, turning into a nightclub worthy of Ibiza at sunset.
If calories don’t frighten you, then go to the Great Outdoors, on deck 15, a grill with near the pools, serving burgers, hot dogs, chips and hot rolls all day long.
 
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As for the paid options, however, did not find the restaurants expensive at all. The quality is in fact very high and you would expect to pay much more than that. I attended the Cirque Dreams & Dinner, a dinner with a circus show that reminded me of the Cirque du Soleil. The extra cost is $30 per person for a standard seat or $40 for a premium seat (or along the central stage). Dinner included a cold appetizer with mozzarella (as a Neapolitan expert in buffalo mozzarella let me say this: that was certainly not “mozzarella”!), Ham, salad and tomatoes, followed by a delicious and tender filet mignon with baked potato dish and pepper shrimps. To end the dinner, just before the show began, we were offered a delicious mix of desserts: red velvet, creme brulee with berries and macaron, and a delicious chocolate cake with cocoa cream.
Another great choice was Cagney’s Steakhouse, with a menu almost completely dedicated to meat, so detailed that we had to ask the help of one of the waiters to know more about the cuts or what was the most tender (ribeye – delicious!). The menu is a la carte, in a very quiet room with sea view. Of course, it’s not the best choice for vegetarian or vegan friends.
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Ice Bar – North Pole on the Mediterranean sea

When I heard that there’s an Ice Bar on the NCL Epic, I knew right away that I had to see it for myself. Mohamed Siyabdeen, Beverage Manager, kindly allowed me to enter this refrigerated cell with a fixed temperature of -8°C, before the opening hours for guests. Black plastic covered the counter and the floor to prevent ice from forming, while opening and closing the door to get ready for the evening. The room can accommodate up to 25 guests, who are offered a poncho lined with artificial fur, gloves and hats. The entrance fee costs 20$ per person and includes two cocktails. SWEDEN – Inniskillin Ice Bar is lit by LED lights that simulate the Northern lights, creating an arctic atmosphere, between ice sculptures and benches. What an unusual experience!
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Entertainment – Never a dull moment

Entertainment the NCL ships is of the highest level. Every ship has its own casino (aside from the Pride of America). Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Epic even have a bowling hall. In addition to the Cirque Dreams & Dinner show I’ve already told you about, by the famous producer Neil Goldberg and this year’s completely renewed (it is 90 minutes long), on the  Norwegian Epic have been introduced Broadway shows like Burn the Floor and the musical Priscilla, Queen of the desert, based on the Oscar-winning movie. I found this musical, a winner at the Tony Awards, magnificent and colorful. With a number of dance floor hits like It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, performed majestically by drag queens dancing on stiletto heels, is cheeky and definitely never boring. The visual impact is magnificent: colorful costumes, singers and dancers suspended mid air and perfect sets.
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Another tremendous success is also Howl at the Moon, a real music cabaret with two piano players turn the public into a part of the show. You will have to be ready to applaud, sing, dance and shout: fun is assured!
Only on the Norwegian Epic you will find the Cavern Club, the reproduction of a club where the Beatles played, with a cover band that every night delights guests with the greatest hits from the Fab Four and other international bands.
 
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As if that’s not enough, every day a newsletter with all the daily activities is delivered to your cabin. From country dance lessons to foot reflexology lectures, video game challenges, live shows with interesting prizes, onboard days are always full. Even in the evening there are often presentations of watches by famous brands or games for families and couples, always very much appreciated by everyone. To make it brief, you never get bored!
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Shore excursions – With or without a guide

The range of excursions offered by Norwegian Cruise Line is wide. Through the official portal, once you have booked your cruise, you will be able to reserve one, including perhaps one of the additional water, internet, specialty restaurants or drinks packages (I suggest you subscribe to the newsletter, it is not uncommon for these packages to be offered also for free when booking  a cruise). I have had a look at those for Naples, from ecological cycling along Via Caracciolo to the excursion on the Amalfi Coast to the Vesuvius. As a Neapolitan, I did not like some of the statements I read on the official NCL website (eg. “explore the city with so many problems” etc.) but unfortunately speaking to many of the other guests, I realized that the cliches on my city are hard to die.
The excursions are quite expensive, so if you want to explore Naples on your own, I would recommend my guide with a day itinerary from the harbor.


I have tried the Vesuvius + Pompei excursion, so I can’t tell you much about the others, except that they explore really beautiful places like Amalfi and Sorrento. For my experience, the bilingual tour guide (English/Italian) was really great. He talked about Naples, the Neapolitans, told anecdotes and even explained the origins of the Neapolitan dialect. I looked at the faces of the other cruisers, curious to understand their reaction, and I always found them with a beautiful smile on their face. Whenever the morale seemed low, because our feet hurt, our Neapolitan guide with a smart mouth, was able to make us laugh. It wouldn’t have been the same without him!
Yeah, because the excursion, combining Vesuvius and Pompeii, is not the easy. The hike up to Vesuvius by foot is quite tiring. We were given just over an hour to get to the top, take some pictures and get down again, but I found it wasn’t nearly enough time.
Also, having stopped for a pizza (discovering that the prices, just outside the archaeological site, are scandalous! 10€ for a Margherita??? In any other pizzeria you would pay less than 5€!) we entered the archaeological area of Pompeii when it was pretty hot. Even though we were never stopped for long, we could not see everything inside, not even the area where the gladiators used to train!

My suggestion, if you want to book an excursion, is to choose wither Pompeii or the Vesuvius, in order to have appreciate them more.

But how do the excursions work? It’s very simple. After booking, you will be delivered your ticket in your cabin. On the ticket you will find all the info, where you will be reunited with the group and the time (don’t be late!) you have to get to the designated deck. Once there, you will be assigned a number through a sticker. To disembark (and then when you get back) you will need your cabin key. Remember that when you get back on board you will have to go through the security checks once again, so metal detector, bag check and card control.

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Pulse Fitness Center – Stay fit

Many friends tell me that coming back from a cruise, after eating so much and laying around, it is inevitable to put on weight. Well, on the NCL fleet you don’t have to. On the ships there is always a gym, you will find jogging tracks, basketball or volleyball courts… or even a climbing wall. On the Norwegian Epic I was able to see (no, I did not climb, I was terrified!) a climbing wall of 10×20 meters. This is the first ship in the cruise industry to have a wall of this type on board, accessible from two levels and with varying degrees of difficulty. But the thing that left me open mouthed was the bungee jumping trampoline, not far from the climbing area called Spider Web. It’s not exactly what I was expecting on a cruise ship!

If you don’t feel adventurous, on deck 15 every morning an instructor holds aerobics and dance sessions. You don’t have to book anything, just find yourself on the deck between the two bars, just by the pool, follow the pop music and join others to dance and have fun. The level is not overly challenging and you can stop whenever you want. I found it a great way to burn a bit of calories while having fun and especially making friends with so many other people!

So no excuses! On the NCL fleet being lazy is no longer an option!

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Mandara Spa – Taking care of body and mind

As I have already mentioned, Norwegian Epic offers a series of Spa cabins. The reason?
Mandara is one of the largest spa complexes on board a cruise ship, that earned a World Spa Award as the Best cruise spa in the world. Almost 2883 square meters, with 24 private treatment rooms, two villas for couples, two Turkish baths Rasul, a hydrotherapy area, a Thermal Suite, a multi-service salon, a fitness center and a hairdresser.
In this context, you will also find 39 Spa cabins with balconies, mini suites and suites that offer free access to the spa. The Spa Suites also feature a large jacuzzi each.
The treatments range from hot stone massages to acupuncture, to teeth whitening and other practices that are performed exclusively by the specialized doctors on board. If the treatments are quite expensive, The Thermal Suite is not. There is a limited number of passes on sale, that cost about 200USD for a week or 50USD per day, but booking online before your arrival not only will you get the pass… it grants a 20USD discount!

As soon as I arrived at Mandara Spa I immediately noticed the atmosphere much quiet than other areas of the ship. The air smells of essential oils and the on-board staff is as always very helpful and nice. The changing rooms through which you access the Spa Suite are divided by sex. In the one for us girls there is a large area to undress, with lockers to leave the items we won’t carry inside, bathrobes and towels. There’s also shampoo and body soap, as well as a long row of mirrors and hairdryers.

You will then enter a relaxing area where you will find clean towels and something refreshing. Fresh lemon or orange flavored water, fresh fruit and the chance to enjoy hot  herbal tea or chamomile with a selection available to guests. The area is quite large and you never have the impression of being on a cruise ship, unless you want to enjoy some sunshine. The exclusive area for the customers of the Spa Suite is in fact a beautiful sunny terrace, from which you can enjoy the magnificent view, laying comfortably on a chaise longue.
You can use sensory showers, steam rooms with different intensity, steam bath and wonderful heated ceramic deckchairs on which to relax after the treatments, to relax drowsing or reading a book.
A nice thermal pool occupies a good part of the space inside. Divided in different areas, all very pleasant, offers guests different treatments. From the hot jacuzzi to an area where strong hot water jets massage your legs, to the area where other jets (separated by intensity) massage your back, up to the small poolside niches where you enter for a pleasant massage on your hips and legs . My favorite area, however, where I would’ve gladly spent hours, is a part of the pool where you can lay down in the water, resting your head comfortably on a metal pillow. The hot water jets here are more intense, for a total body revitalizing and relaxing massage.
After walking so much because of the excursion I had swollen legs and feet. It took me an afternoon in the Thermal Suite to feel reborn.

I highly recommend buying a pass for this area, especially for those who book 7 or more day cruises: you won’t regret it!

You might be wondering, after such a long article… but in the end, do you really suffer from sea sickness?
The answer is… No! The first day I wasn’t really used to the slight vibration of the bed due to the movement of the ship, but tired as I was, I collapsed without thinking about it too much. Maybe I was just lucky, because the Mediterranean sea was flat as a table, but I never felt any movement. On board the Norwegian Epic, on the contrary I felt like being in a small town, where, just as usual, I sometimes got lost: it’s not my fault, it really is big!
Full disclosure: Post written in collaboration with Norwegian Cruise Line. I personally use and love this company, yet none of the ideas expressed in this blog post are shared, supported, or endorsed in any manner by them.

 

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  • How this really does look like an exercise in luxury! Certainly, the food on board looks absolutely incredible and I really can't believe it comes equipped with an ice bar! Might be a little out of my price range just yet but who knows, perhaps some day

  • Your post brought back memories for us as we sailed Norwegian on our Mediterranean cruise. This cruise is what gave us the travel bug!

  • Norwegian Epic offers a wide range of accommodation options. The heaven experience was NOT worth the money. We only saw our butler 2 x over a 7 day period. The shows were good…the food just average. We ate in most of the specialty restaurants with Le Bistro being our favorite.

  • This is very interesting, because The Haven does cost way more even than the Spa cabins, so obviously if you spend that much money you also want it to be worth. Was it just because of the butler? Because for example I've seen The Haven on the NCL Epic and the area was pretty posh, very clean and quiet, the exact contrary of some common areas on the main deck, for example. Yet I wasn't staying in The Haven so I'm a bit curious to know how does it work for real…

  • Really? That's so cool! Did you do the 7 days cruise or the shorter one?

  • I thought the same but I've been checking this out thoroughly and I can say that with their Studio offer it can be pretty cheap. The short Mediterranean cruise comes for about 350€ and I think it even includes a flight to Barcellona at least from Italy. If you compare it to other cruising company, it's really cheap!

  • The whole cruise looks quite luxurious, especially the food. I have never done or experienced anything like this and I think I'd quite enjoy all of the hassle being taken out of the planning like you say – a nice way to be able to relax

  • Great post:) Would love to go on such a cruise 🙂

  • It sounds like a wonderful experience. I have never did a cruise, but was thinking about it for some time now. Just to try…

  • Definitely one of the most detailed posts about NCL on the web and all spot on!

    Thanks for writing 🙂

  • Great write up on this cruise. Would seriously consdier going on. Very detailed and loving the photos.

  • Titanic ruined me as a child and has made me terrified of open water and cruising. However, the older I get the better a cruise sounds.
    So who knows, maybe one day I'll be on a cruise as gorgeous as this one!

  • Woww.. that cruise looks awesome. Never try it begore and once I saw thia, I really wanted too!

  • I really like the idea of having zero worries on a cruise. With so much already taken care of, you can just relax – like you should on vacation or honeymoon. And there is such a variety of entertainment too.

  • This cruise was really awesome, I'm always stressed about cruises, that's why I've never done them, but I enjoyed your post!

    • Oh you’d enjoy one with NCL! You’re like me, but I had to think again: what a surprise it was!

  • It was also last year that I get the chance to cruise, but a bigger cruise ship like this one. It was only a yacht and for about 5 hours I guess. Anyway, sorry to hear about your bad cruising experienced when you were still in High school. How I wish to experience cruising on this one as well. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It must be really an awesome experience.

    • Did you feel seasick on a smaller boat? I’m always afraid after my bad experience, but I must admit that on bigger ships you don’t feel anything, it’s like a big city and it also offers so much fun!

  • Looks fantastic! I've always been a bit wary of cruises but I think I'd forget my seasickness fears in a heartbeat with all those dining options haha. Might have to rethink our next trip!

    • I also worried about that but I didn’t feel it at all! And I was really terrified of feeling nauseous for the whole cruise!

  • Wow it sounds like there is a ton to do on the Norwegian Epic! Did you have a lot of great on-shore excursions too? What ports did you visit?

  • Very comprehensive review, looks like you thought of everything 🙂

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  • I have never been inclined to take a cruise mainly because part of what I enjoy with my travels is exploring the food culture of the cities I visit. I would be worried as well of feeling nauseous. Glad you tried it out again.

    • I had the same worries and yet not only I didn’t feel nauseous at all (and I’m very sensitive) but I also had so much fun!

  • Like you, I am not into cruises but this "feel free" concept looks very interesting and I would be tempted to try one. Thanks for the info and tips

    • It’s the only reason why I’d book another one! I don’t like being forced to eat at certain times or to dress in a certain way. If I’m on vacation, I want to relax!

  • Cruising is one of my bucket lists. This article is very comprehensive and detailed. Loved reading it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Let me know if you get around to it! I was honestly surprised by how much fun I had, I would’ve never guessed!

  • I've never been on a cruise but this looks amazing. There looks like there is so much to see and do. I don't think you could ever get bored. I will have to look into doing a cruise one day.

    • It depends on the company but it’s true, on the NCL you never get bored!

  • We have never really thought about about going on a cruise before, but this concept sounds amazing! It definitely has got us interested to try this out one day!

  • Chocolate strawberries and champagne… what a great welcome! I just love cruises and have yet to try Norwegian. Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

    • Indeed! I felt so spoiled! And I’m sure you’d love NCL, it was a great experience… so much so that I’m thinking of booking another cruise with them!

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