Norwegian Epic Cruise – Barcelona to Livorno

I finally found my Studio at 5.10pm. This really is ridiculous since it was fifty minutes from departure time. I know it’s not NCL’s fault but it’s still frustrating. The door has a card slot so only those supposed to be in there can be, which is an excellent idea. Mine was along the left corridor, 11501, as far forward as you can get. My case stood forlornly, an outsider like Epic!

Studio cabin 11501

Despite its size, it’s quite cleverly designed. There is plenty of storage in the form of shelves (even a cupboard under the sink!) and you have two wardrobes (one has the life jackets and safe as well as only one ruddy hanger). When I was on in 2010, there was a card in the power slot. I don’t know whether people nicked them or they just changed policy but now there isn’t (in mine anyway). It’s really frustrating having to use your onboard card because you can go out without it. It’s different if there are two of you. So I improvised with a Hythe Ferry Sunday service card & old Red Funnel ticket from when we went to see Oasis of the Seas at Ryde!

Works too. Lots of luvverly sockets! 3 US and 2 round pin European. The mood lighting can be a bit annoying, changing to another colour once you’d got used to one. Despite it being nicknamed by friends on Facebook “The padded cell” due to the wall cushioning, I really like these cabins and just wish they’d added some Studios with windows to Project Breakaway. Single cabins are the way to go and NCL are listening to what passengers want, rather than adding token ones such as Royal Caribbean and P&O. The price for these is fabulous too. Less than an inside twin making a decent-sized cabin for one person affordable. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to explore or experience much thanks to our rubbish late arrival so up to the party!!!!

Ryndam and Grand Holiday were due to sail at 5pm with us and Azamara journey an hour later. I’ve been keeping a weekly eye on the AIS and Epic hasn’t been on time – even when others are long gone! Due to rubbish exterior design, there aren’t many glass-free areas on deck to get decent photos. Sometimes I wonder if the designer of many cruise ships and/or rubber-stamper ever go cruising or like ships. They’d make things camera friendly if they did! The party was in loud full swing and the weather was hot, hot, hot!

Barcelona sailaway

I bought the soda package but had to yell at two people to make myself heard before then yelling what I wanted & cabin number to the bloke doing them. He was right next to the party! I tried to phone home but couldn’t hear a thing. Good job since I dialled the wrong number – oops! I’d told my dad I’d phone when I was onboard and he’d be worrying. I went towards the stern to get away from the racket and try again. My dad was watching the AIS so knew what was on the move. Grand Holiday appeared first at 6pm followed by Ryndam five minutes later.

Grand Holiday 9th October 2011

Ryndam 9th October 2011

Less than ten minutes after that, I noticed us slowly edging away from the dock – bugger! Azamara Journey hadn’t gone so I went to the stern and, after a few mins, she was kicking up water then off! I had to go back where I came from but it was lovely.


Azamara Journey 9th October 2011

Bye Barcelona!

Food in the Garden Café and a red kidney curry – yum! Very spicy and gorgeous.

My Inaugural Season T-shirt had a few smiles from crew but I spoke to the first one who’d been onboard as well. Getting a soda refill from Waves, I got “You came back!” and telling me about how people hated those early cruises. The sunset was amazing!

Sunset over Barcelona

I found the internet – eventually! It was one place I missed last time too because it’s hidden behind the photo shop. Had a hazelnut cake at the Atrium Café – yum! Saw a couple I’d spoken to at the airport whose first time it is on this ship (done other NCLs) and love it. They said I’m the only person from then they’d seen again. Met a few people in the Studio Lounge but two women stuck together.

Studio Lounge

Cancelled my Palma excursion because 80 steps to a ruddy cathedral will kill my back. My dad texted to say Brilliance of the Seas was out there so off I trotted but could see zilch! I decided to have a look at the Beatles tribute act, who were nearing the end of their show. They were very good but Paul had the guitar for a righthanded person.

Then off ship hunting. I eventually saw a blob which may or may not have been her but due to our slow speed, we judder too much so I couldn’t get even a half-decent picture. To console myself I ate! You can do a lot on NCL which so many eateries staying open late and serving a huge variety. This is my 31st cruise, I’ve sailed on 20 ships and 7 cruise lines and I STILL maintain NCL has the best food at sea. Well they have out of those I’ve experienced.

It was still so mild out there. It was totally bliss! Another refill then back to the cabin to try this internet lark. Bit silly you’re meant to get a discount for being a Latitudes member but you cannot combine it with the embark deal, which you get automatically. When I signed up I wasn’t given an option of which I’d prefer. So blog writing and then bed after 1am. Not bad for someone who had bugger all sleep! But with these dead bodies we kept hitting as we rocked a bit and juddered a lot, would I get any???

Monday was a sea day, our first of two. Next year they have only one while adding boardings at Marseilles and Civitavecchia as well as the usual Barcelona. I slept HOURS in my padded cell. There are two blue lights which look like eyes in the dark and are quite disconcerting at first.

I did wake up a few times, the pillows being a little too hard for my ears (I broke one when I was 8 so need soft ones) but the bed was comfy despite creaking. The rocking and juddering didn’t stop most of the night to the extent the safe door hit against the inside wardrobe one. In the end I opened the wardrobe. We finally went quiet much later in the night and I got up about 11.10am. I found I’d left my hairbrush at home. Bugger! Unfortunately, essentials are lacking. No plasters, hairbrushes, soaps, razors etc you find on other ships. I ended up buying a comb, which was all they had. I booked a new Palma excursion which would be easier on my back. Lunch in O’Sheehan’s and thought I’d try the fish and chips because Americans can never get it right. Even Cunard didn’t in 2008 and they’re meant to be British! Celebrity were okay and probably brought in tins of mushy peas to satisfy the masses.

Well the fish was absolutely wonderful, fries a bit dry and mushy peas were pureed and tasted of mint.

Had a bit of a nap in the afternoon. All this sea air and food is exhausting! I’d picked up some apples from Great Outdoors Snacks but I had to get a plate which was red hot. Fine for hot food but rubbish for fruit and salad. 6.30pm was the Cirque Dreams & Dinner. I’d pre-booked Premium online which costs $30. The cheap seats were ten dollars less. I was the only Brit on a table of Americans (Virginia, Maryland, Florida and somewhere we never learnt). It’s a set menu and you’re asked about allergies beforehand, which I was impressed with. So my starter came minus bell peppers. It was an amazing show and worth every penny. It lasted 90 minutes and it part-audience participation when someone’s dragged up there, like the Florida husband for the silent movie part. He had the clapperboard so only a small role. The talent, agility and strength of these people is seen to be believed. You’re not allowed to take photos of video, though I did on my food and right at the end. A flash did go off at the start which was very stupid of someone.


Main course


Then I went for a wander along the Prom deck (which the lifeboats weren’t in the way for most of it!) even though it said it was closed due to strong winds. A couple were playing chess down the other end. Back to the padded cell and decided to go to bed rather than see FABBA because I’m so tired despite all the sleep. Also I’d be getting up at 5.30am for Livorno!

And so our first port and it was flipping freezing. It’s very difficult to take photos in the dark without flash on this ship due to the juddering, unlike Celebrity Constellation 52 weeks before. If there was a proper wraparound Promenade deck I could at least go down there and hopefully get less of the vibration. As it was, I had to lump it, cross everything and hope. Liberty of the Seas was up our bum. I hadn’t seen her since April 2007 in Southampton and she’d be with us in these three ports. Grand Holiday was next, Silver Spirit behind and I was so cold I completely forgot about Seven Seas Voyager. My inaugural season hoodie didn’t keep me warm so back to my trusty cardie! Then breakfast before the tour.

Liberty of the Seas arriving in Livorno

Silver Spirit & Grand Holiday

This entry was posted in Azamara Club Cruises, Cruises, Holland America Line, Iberocruceros, Mediterranean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Ship Stalking, Silversea Cruises and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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