We have just returned from our first ever cruise on the Norwegian Epic around the Mediterranean and are new converts to cruising.
This large liner is ideal for families (we were a party of 3 generations) as there was plenty of entertainment for all ages. We had cabins with balconies next door to each other; we were able to open the privacy board between the two balconies so the children could come into our cabin to overspill from their own rather cramped room. One grandchild loved the kids club, one was not so keen, but for the gregarious it’s easy to meet new friends.
We went on a pre-paid drinks and food (and tips) package so although it was expensive up-front we hardly spent anything else all week. We tried most of the complimentary restaurants and found the food to be good, excellent at times, but waiter service not up to expectations – for the most part it was easier for us to use the buffet option.
Be warned that the cruise line tries to tempt you to part with money all the time (excursions, photos, dvds, etc) so be firm if you don’t want to spend too much. I thought $15 for the return bus fare to Livorno through Norwegian was a little steep (especially as the train fare from there to Pisa was only around £2), but we were not confident enough to haggle with taxi drivers at the port.
We took a vote on whether we would want to go again – two weeks in Florida with theme park tickets in high season (Easter) versus one week cruising for around the same money. On balance Florida came out on top, but it was a fantastic holiday for all of us and we made some wonderful memories.