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Cruise Blog – Norwegian Epic – Norwegian Cruise Line – Mediterranean Cruise Experience

Cruise blog about the Norwegian Epic of Norwegian Cruise Line with my experience of the Mediterranean cruise. Cruise ships and cruises have held a special fascination for me for many years. Ever since I was at the port of Miami for the first time, my longing for a cruise has...

Cruise Blog – Norwegian Epic – Norwegian Cruise Line – Mediterranean Cruise Experience

Cruise Blog – Norwegian Epic – Norwegian Cruise Line – Mediterranean Cruise Experience

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This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

Cruise blog about the Norwegian Epic of Norwegian Cruise Line with my experience of the Mediterranean cruise. Cruise ships and cruises have held a special fascination for me for many years. Ever since I was at the port of Miami for the first time, my longing for a cruise has grown. Today I’m back on this cruise blog to report on a special cruise and my impressions of the Norwegian Epic from Norwegian Cruise Line. Which destinations should you visit on a Mediterranean cruise? What is the embarkation and disembarkation process like on a cruise? What is the daily program on a cruise ship?

Norwegian Epic Mediterranean cruise

My Mediterranean cruise this year started in the port of Civitavecchia near Rome and is a perfect way to start a cruise. Whenever possible, I always like to combine cruises with city breaks and arrive on cruises a few days before the ship sails and embarks to see a little of the sights of the respective cities.

Rome is always a special city and you can discover many new things during every stay, but this time the focus was on the cruise.

I chose a regular scheduled flight from Munich to Rome, which is possible several times a day. On arrival at the airport in the Italian capital, the Norwegian Cruise Line staff were already clearly visible and took care of me directly and gave me further details about the transfer between Rome and the port of Civitavecchia in the northwest of the Italian capital.

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It is always advisable to book a transfer between the airport or train station and the ship for cruises, as it simply guarantees a more relaxed journey. The transfer from the airport in Rome to the port in Civitavecchia takes around 45 minutes and offers a beautiful view of the countryside and the Mediterranean Sea before you spot the Norwegian Epic on the horizon.

With Norwegian Cruise Line, you have the opportunity to check in online a few days before the cruise and to deposit the most important things for the trip. This makes things even quicker in the port of departure and you can enter your cabin a short time later.

Alternatively, you can of course still leave the necessary documents such as your passport and other information at the port when embarking on the Norwegian Epic. It is possible to deposit a credit card for all expenses on the cruise ship or, alternatively, to pay the bill in cash in euros or US dollars at the end of the cruise.

The reception staff will then provide you with further information about the ship, as well as a clearly laid out map, and you can now board the ship with your own boarding pass. This boarding pass is required for all activities, but also for embarking and disembarking and contains a photograph. It is therefore important to always carry the card with you.

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Norwegian Epic Check-In Civitavecchia

A few years ago, I couldn’t even imagine going on a cruise myself, but after my first cruise and the reports of many friends, my interest in enjoying the comfort of a cruise was awakened and I have loved the feeling of traveling ever since.

I’ve been on a few round trips in recent years and discovered different countries, but I usually checked into a new hotel every evening. Even on my first cruise, I realized the advantages and immediately loved the comfortable way of travelling.

You check into your cabin once and on most cruises you see a new port every day, new sights and can decide for yourself whether you want to spend the day on board with countless activities or alternatively go on one of the numerous excursions. Of course, as a guest on a cruise ship, you can also explore many cities on your own and do not have to join groups or organized tours.

My cruise ship for this Mediterranean cruise was the Norwegian Epic from Norwegian Cruise Line, which was built in France in 2010 and was completely renovated and refurbished in 2015.

The ship of the Miami-based shipping company currently offers space for 4,100 passengers at double occupancy. With a length of 330 meters and a width of 52 meters, the Norwegian Epic has 1986 inside and outside cabins and, as a special feature, 128 single cabins.

This is a great idea and a successful concept, especially for people who want to travel alone, as these cabins are located directly around the studio lounge. A place on board that provides small snacks and drinks for guests during the day and is also intended as a meeting point with plenty of seating. As a single person on a cruise, you automatically get to talk to other guests and can exchange ideas or arrange excursions, activities on board or a visit to one of the various restaurants or shows.

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Stateroom on board the Norwegian Epic

My cabin on the Norwegian Epic was on deck 11 and was about 22 square meters in size with a small balcony that offered another beautiful view of the port of Civitavecchia. For me, a balcony is always part of a cruise. Being woken up in the morning by the fresh sea air and being able to enjoy the sunset after the excursions makes for a perfect vacation.

The space in the cabin was sufficient, the furnishings modern, with all the things you need for a pleasant journey.

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The safety drill is mandatory for every new passenger after boarding a cruise ship and varies slightly depending on the ship.

As the sun slowly set, we had one last look at Civitavecchia and heard from some guests on the first evening how nice the excursions in Rome were, who had been to the Vatican and who had seen the sights of Rome. It was immediately clear to me that I wanted to go back to Rome and explore the city again for a few days.

While we were leaving the Italian port city and I was able to familiarize myself more with the ship, I was already planning my travel days. I definitely wanted to visit various shows, as they have already won several awards. These include, for example, the award for “Best Cruise Ship Entertainment” from the well-known Frommer’s Travel Guide, as well as various other awards for the different restaurants and the service on board.

I ended my first evening with a delicious show-cooking event in the Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant, where I was able to meet a relaxed mix of guests from many nations and immediately strike up a conversation.

Restaurants where all guests can sit around a cooking station and watch how the chefs prepare the various dishes are always a good opportunity for cruise guests traveling alone to get into conversation with other travelers.

After a last walk on board in pleasant temperatures, I said goodbye to Civitavecchia and looked forward to the next port, Livorno, which we would reach the following day.

Cruise blog – Livorno Lucca Pisa

The overnight trip was very quiet and we arrived in the port of Livorno at around seven in the morning. After a delicious breakfast and a first look at the landscape, I decided to go on an organized excursion in the region.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers various excursions in different languages with local tour operators and in Livorno, for example, there were the following options:

  • there were the following options:
  • Florence and Pisa
  • Pisa and a touch of Tuscany
  • Experience beautiful Lucca and Pisa
  • Experience Pisa by train
  • Livorno and excursions in Tuscany

I had already decided in advance on the excursion “Experience beautiful Lucca and Pisa”, as the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was still missing from my list of sights. Even though I’ve been to Tuscany several times before, Pisa was still something I wanted to experience.

The first destination of the trip was the picturesque town of Lucca, which is about a 45-minute drive from the port of Livorno. During the drive, you get a nice first impression of the Tuscan countryside and slowly leave the Mediterranean.

Lucca is located around 20 kilometers from Pisa and was already well known for its textile industry in the 13th and 14th centuries and has a beautiful old town, which has been lovingly restored and today offers space for restaurants, hotels and stores in the old buildings.

One of the most famous attractions in Lucca is still the Basilica of San Frediano, which was founded in the 6th century and is considered a landmark of the city.

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After a very nice lunch in Lucca, we continued on to Pisa and a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. With just 90,000 inhabitants, Pisa is still one of the places that most tourists want to see once in their lives and I was one of them.

The area around the Leaning Tower of Pisa in particular, with San Martino, Santa Maria, San Francesco, Sant’Antonio and the central Arno Bridge, is an absolute must-see for every visitor to Pisa.

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The “Torre pendente di Pisa”, as the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” is known in Italy, is 55 meters high and was begun in 1173. Alongside the Vatican in Rome and the cities of Venice and Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the top tourist attractions in Italy.

Just 12 years after construction began in 1173, the Leaning Tower of Pisa began to lean to the south-east, which led to construction being halted for a hundred years. The Torre pendente di Pisa was finally completed in 1372 and currently has an inclination of 3.9 meters. The reason for the subsidence of the tower on one side is said to be the clay subsoil, as there was once a harbor on the site of the Leaning Tower.

The entrance fee for a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is currently EUR 18 per person and it is advisable to pre-book tickets for the tower visit and select a time slot directly on the official website.

It’s hard to imagine, but it was only in 1987 that the Leaning Tower of Pisa, with the adjoining cathedral and cemetery, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For me, it was an impressive moment to have once again visited a world-famous sight, just as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Sydney Opera House or the pyramids of Giza had been years ago.

After returning to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, I was looking forward to a nice dinner and, above all, to seeing the evening show “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”. The musical is not only performed on the Norwegian Epic, but currently also on various well-known theater stages worldwide (such as New York) and has won a Tony Award, among others.

Norwegian Cruise Line is known worldwide for a very good and select show program, which does not have to shy away from comparison with many theater stages and I could absolutely confirm this after the visit. As a guest on board the Norwegian Epic, you simply enjoy the wide range of possibilities.

A breakfast with sea air, then a visit to sights such as Lucca and Pisa and in the evening a delicious dinner and a beautiful musical. While I enjoyed one last walk on board and the starry sky that evening, I was already looking forward to the next city on my cruise.

Côte d’Azur, Cannes and yoga

While I was already thinking about the sights on the Côte d’Azur, I wanted to start the day with a nice sports program. Yoga has been part of my weekly routine for many years and I simply enjoy calming down.

On the Norwegian Epic, as on all other Norwegian Cruise Line ships, great importance is attached to a good sports and fitness program. In addition to a very good sports studio with a view and sufficient cardio equipment, the range of classes is also very extensive and varied. If you want to really work out, you can take advantage of the boxing offer and train your whole body, as well as various spinning classes, which I also like to attend regularly on cruises (as well as in my gym).

For this day, however, I chose the yoga program. It is also a good opportunity for many yoga beginners to try it out on cruises. Often you don’t want to travel to a local gym just for this, but just want to try out a test lesson in peace and quiet. If not on a cruise with a beautiful view and great air, then where better to try yoga?

Yoga is very easy to learn, even for beginners, and it starts with simple exercises and, above all, correct breathing. With a good yoga instructor, you immediately realize that they can easily impart this knowledge and also pay attention to small subtleties and can explain these things.

I was very surprised by the wide range of offers and the good knowledge on board the Norwegian Epic and could well imagine choosing this offer regularly for cruises with several days at sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line also offers many activities for younger guests on the Norwegian Epic, such as various water slides and sports activities that are only available for younger guests. This means that parents can relax and younger cruise guests can quickly make new friends. A nice concept from Norwegian Cruise Line.

After the sports program, I chose a special feature to explore Cannes. As the port of Cannes is not designed for cruise ships (such as Monaco), the Norwegian Epic anchors off the coast and you are taken to the port of Cannes in small boats. These tender boats are designed for up to 300 guests and take around 15 minutes to reach the port of Cannes. It can be thought of as a comfortable shuttle service between the ship and the port and offers many more opportunities to be impressed by the size of the ship.

At the latest when you are standing on land at a later time and see your own ship on the horizon, you realize how far off the coast the ship must be anchored. I like the transfers by tender boat, as it gives you even more of a cruise feeling and you can look forward to the next city during the crossing.

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Cannes is one of the cities that is of course very well known around the world for its film festival and gathers the absolute A-list celebrities on the Côte d’Azur every year.

You get this impression immediately when you walk along the famous “Boulevard de la Croisette”. Many well-known fashion brands, famous jewelers and some well-known luxury hotels, such as the Carlton Hotel (by Intercontinental) or the Hilton Hotel Cannes.

International celebrities have been meeting every year since 1946 for the Palme d’Or awards, making Cannes the hotspot on the Côte d’Azur.

Above Cannes, you have a special view of the harbor and the numerous luxury yachts, as well as the islands of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat off the coast.

For a day trip or a shore leave from a cruise ship, Cannes also offers many possibilities for excursions, such as a short stop at Cannes beach, which is very popular with locals and tourists. It is especially nice when you spot your own cruise ship on the horizon.

After the excursion to Cannes, a last walk through one of the largest parks in France, the Square Verdun, another special evening program awaited me on board the Norwegian Epic.

That evening, “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” took place in Norwegian Epic’s mirror tent, a combination of a three-course dinner and a show with aerial acrobats to match.

The concept of the show was created by Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg and adapted for Norwegian Cruise Line’s cruise ships. Guests are welcomed by the show’s characters and then escorted to their seats. A completely different show concept and at the same time a perfect opportunity for dinner.

During the “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” show, there were regular looks of amazement all around the room and the performances in the small space were truly breathtaking. A clear recommendation for guests on board the Norwegian Epic. It is highly recommended to make a reservation for the evening with the staff on board the Norwegian Epic.

After a beautiful show, a lovely dinner and great moments in Cannes, I was looking forward to a special tour on board the Norwegian Epic the next day.

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Ship tour and Mallorca

After a pleasant breakfast in fantastic weather, the Norwegian Epic was already close to the Balearic Islands and offered a fantastic view.

An excursion to a finca in the northwest of Mallorca was planned for the afternoon, as I didn’t know the region that well yet and always enjoy spending time in Mallorca.

On some cruise ships, it is possible to book a guided tour of the ship or a ship tour, which gave me the opportunity to get to know the Norwegian Epic in a completely different way. As a guest, you get a good overview of the ship in a very short time, but you often don’t get to experience how many things happen.

During the tour, there was also the opportunity to visit the bridge of the Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship again and ask the captain a few questions. Especially when you have the opportunity at the end of a cruise, there are things you always want to know. A question that I automatically ask myself when you travel a lot and imagine destinations – how do you travel as a captain, do you long for a beach vacation, a stay in the mountains or are there simply ports that you would like to visit again privately.

It is precisely these conversations that give the journey a completely different perspective and also convey a perfect feeling for the size of the ship.

It’s hard to imagine the amount of food that has to be moved logistically on board the ship every day and how many eggs, watermelons or even how much flour is consumed each day. When you see what is already ready for the ship at the next port, you can imagine the consumption to a certain extent.

Just as I enjoy looking into hotel kitchens and talking to different chefs, I also enjoy looking into the kitchen of a ship. The sizes are always unimaginable and you simply have to experience them.

After we were able to explore various areas on the Norwegian Epic ship tour, there was another little highlight at the end. As guests on the tour, we were able to stand on the stage where the special shows are performed every evening in front of over 1,000 guests and see how the costumes are prepared and how the make-up and final sound details are taken care of.

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There were many great impressions that the Norwegian Cruise Line staff on the Norwegian Epic made possible for the guests. After the interesting tour, I met up with other cruise guests and we looked forward to the excursion to the northwest region of the Balearic Island.

Of course, Norwegian Cruise Line also offered some special tours on the Norwegian Epic with various local operators, such as

  • By train to Soller (Magical Mallorca)
  • Picturesque Palma de Mallorca and Valdemossa
  • Special and spectacular landscapes and flavors

As I was already familiar with Palma de Mallorca, which can be reached on foot from the port in around 30 minutes, and the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, and as I had been able to get to know many aspects of Mallorca through various stays in recent years, including for various yoga and detox reports on Mallorca, I wanted to experience the former Mallorca once again and get to know a special landscape with typical foods.

The drive to the country house “La Granja – Espolres Mallorca” takes about 45 minutes from the port of Palma and first goes via Valldemossa to the north of the island until just before the town of Deia. Personally, I’ve liked the north-west of the island for a long time, with its interesting landscape and high mountains that rise up into the sea.

At the country house, we had the opportunity to enjoy a typical Mallorcan lunch with lots of tasty delicacies and at the same time learn more about the crafts in the region. A very interesting stay, especially if you want to learn a little more about Mallorca and its inhabitants.

The return trip to the ship then took us past the most famous rock in the Balearic Islands – “So Foradada”. The rock is known far beyond the island and, with its large hole, offers a perfect view of the cliffs and the interesting landscape in the region.

For the last evening of the cruise, I chose the French restaurant “Le Bistro” – an à la carte restaurant with a beautiful selection of dishes, lovingly laid tables and excellent service.

The multi-course dinner offered another opportunity to chat with other cruise guests and reflect on the wonderful days from Civitavecchia via Livorno and Cannes to Mallorca, before taking another stroll around the deck, enjoying the clear water and packing my suitcases for the return journey to Germany.

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Disembarking in Barcelona

As a guest on the Norwegian Epic, you will receive a very well-designed brochure in your own language the evening before disembarkation with lots of details about the disembarkation process in Barcelona and how easy it is on the Norwegian Epic.

Due to the early docking of the Norwegian Epic in the port of Barcelona, we were asked to leave the cabin by 7.30 am. Of course, after leaving the cabin and depending on the return flight, you still have the opportunity to choose breakfast in one of the numerous restaurants on board the Norwegian Cruise Line ship and enjoy the last few hours.

Guests who have an early return flight can enjoy breakfast from 5 a.m. onwards. The restaurants offer the following times on the day of disembarkation:

  • Garden Terrace – Deck 15 – from 05.00 a.m.
  • Garden Café – Deck 15 – from 05.30 a.m.
  • Great Outdoor – Deck 15 – from 06.00 a.m.
  • Taste – Deck 5 – from 06.30 a.m.
  • O’Sheehan’s – Deck 6 – from 05.00 a.m.

As a guest on the Norwegian Cruise Line Epic, you have the option of transporting your own luggage when disembarking and taking it off the ship. Alternatively, you can leave your luggage marked in front of your cabin door the evening before disembarkation (until 11 p.m.) and it will be ready in the marked area in the port of Barcelona the next morning.

Depending on the time of departure, you will receive color-coded luggage tags from the reception staff, indicating the time of disembarkation and the place where you will receive your luggage at the port.

You will also receive the bill delivered to your room by 5.30 a.m. on the day of departure and can check your expenses on board the ship again. If you have already deposited a credit card when embarking, it will automatically be charged with the items on the invoice and you can leave the ship directly.

If you have selected cash as your method of payment for expenses on board and for shore excursions, you can then settle the bill on deck 5. Norwegian Cruise Line accepts various currencies.

As with embarkation and arrival by plane and train, it is also advisable to book a transfer in advance for departure. As the number of cabs at ports is always very limited, this results in unnecessary waiting times. I had already booked my shuttle bus in advance before embarking and was therefore able to leave Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic completely relaxed and with lots of great impressions.

CONCLUSION – Norwegian Epic Mediterranean cruise

For me personally, it was the first cruise with the Miami-based shipping company Norwegian Cruise Line and I found it very pleasant. The Norwegian Epic is a very modern ship where you never get the feeling that there are over 4,000 passengers on board. Waiting times for attractions or in restaurants are practically non-existent.

What was immediately noticeable when boarding the Norwegian Epic in the port of Civitavecchia was the extremely good signage on board and the very courteous staff. They always tried to fulfill or often anticipate every wish of the guests. The cabin service was also very attentive and all the staff tried to make the stay special and, above all, pleasant.

In addition, there was a very good selection of different restaurants including French, Japanese and Brazilian restaurants and an incredible range of shows and entertainment.

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I personally found the pleasant mix of guests from different age groups and the international selection of guests very pleasant. You quickly got into conversation with guests from all nations and it was very interesting to learn how these guests felt about the cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line and Norwegian Epic.

The experiences with Norwegian Cruise Line have made me long for a new cruise and now that the cold months are coming in Europe, I’m already longing for sun and palm trees, the Caribbean and warm water and I think back to the first time I encountered Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships – in the port of Miami.

I enjoyed very pleasant days on board the Norwegian Epic and got to know many great cities and sights – but above all the people on board made my stay special and unforgettable. Thank you so much!

Note: I was invited on this research trip by Norwegian Cruise Line. My own opinion remains unaffected.

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….​

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Table of Contents

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….

Believe in yourself, your personal dreams and start your own journey – just for you….​

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