Back in May we went on a Mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Epic. This was the second time on the Epic, although this time we were staying in the Haven 😀
The Norwegian Epic is based out of Barcelona and our itinerary was as follows:
Day One: Embark Barcelona
Day Two: At Sea
Day Three: Naples, Italy
Day Four: Civitecchia (For Rome), Italy
Day Five: Livorno (For Pisa & Florence), Italy
Day Six: Cannes, France
Day Seven: Palma, Majorca
We booked our cruise through cruise.co.uk. I would highly recommend this company, our agent was extremely helpful and we got an excellent deal. They organised everything from flights to transfers to check in of your flights. They even offer independent Shore excursions if you would prefer.
Our flights were with Jet2, these were very good, we couldn’t fault them both ways.
As we were staying in The Haven we got a private transfer from and to the airport. This definitely made a huge difference. The driver was there at arrivals to whisk us off to the port, so no waiting on a hot stuffy coach for it to fill up!
Once we arrived at the port we were sent to a dedicated check in line for Haven/Suite guests, again bypassing all the long queues.
We were then taken to the lounge where we would receive our cruise cards, we were greeted by a crew member, who also happened to be our Butler. There were refreshments but we were saving ourselves for lunch onboard ship 😀. After a few minutes we were escorted onboard and taken to an elevator which took us straight up to deck 16. I expected there to be someone there to greet us but it was pretty quiet so we wandered up to deck 17 and found our cabin.
Cabin 17018 – a 2 Bedroom Family Villa, what can I say…it was awesome!! You walk in and the second bed and bathroom were off to your left, straight ahead was the living room and access to the balcony, then off this room was the master bed and bathroom. There is so much space! This is definitely an ideal cabin for a family of 3 or 4.
There is everything you would need and more in the cabin.
- Fancy Coffee machine
- Sparkling Wine on embarkation day
- Fruit Basket
- Glasses – including wine and champagne flutes
- TV’s in both bedrooms and living room
- DVD player in master and living room
- Plenty of storage space
- Robe & slippers
- Luxury Elemis toiletries
- Shower with extra jets
- Candy (we had to ask for this)
- Daily Canapes
- Pillow Menu – you can choose from different types of pillows to make you stay comfortable.
The Haven is described as being ‘A ship within a ship’ and this was definitely true! Concierge were there to assist with all your needs so they was no reason to visit the main reception which generally always had queues, they could help with everything from dining to excursions.
Exclusive to Haven guests
The Haven Restaurant – available for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We had breakfast here every morning, there was a menu of hot breakfasts and a buffet which offered cereal, pastries, fruits and cold meats. The service in here was excellent. There was also the Haven Courtyard Grill which offered more casual dining. Next to the restaurant is the Epic Lounge which is a nice place to have a pre-dinner drink.
The Courtyard Pool is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the sun, it is quite enclosed which makes it ideal for those breezy, cooler days at sea. In this area there are different types of comfy sun lounges, my favourite being the big double size bed! This area was very rarely crowded even the day we were at sea. There is an OK size pool, 2 hot tubs, changing rooms, restrooms and a sauna which overlooks the pool. Just inside is the bar which I had great service from, once you ordered your drink they would bring it out to you, they also came around taking drinks orders and on a few occasions even brought out fruit kebabs.
Up a couple of decks is the Posh Sun Deck, accessed via keycard this is a fabulous area. Again there are lots of comfy sun loungers and this deck overlooks the main pool deck so is a great place for people watching. This is a great place to go when sailing in/out of ports too as it gives a great view.
The location of The Haven is right at the front of the ship, looking at deck plans this seems like many areas are a long walk away, however in reality nothing felt too far away. The main buffet is ideally located as it is directly under the Haven on deck 15, you could pop down for lunch/snack/ice cream and take it back up to either the courtyard pool or posh.
Restaurants & Dining
In addition to the complimentary dining options there are several restaurants which have an additional cover charge. This varies from $15 to $30. As part of our package we had the Speciality Dining plan which allowed us to visit a speciality restaurant each night of our cruise without paying the extra cover charge.
Certainly a dining experience, you sit around the grill and the chef cooks your food right in front of you. The food served is typically rice, vegetables, steak and seafood (lobster, scallops, shrimp/prawn). The speciality cocktails were delicious 🙂
If you are looking for an intimate dinner, I would not recommend the Teppanyaki as you will be seated with other guests. Otherwise it is an excellent speciality dining experience which I would highly recommend.
This is a French theme restaurant with delicacies such as escargot (snails to you and me!). We enjoyed Le Bistro so much that we ate here twice!
We did not have a great experience on this occasion, the service was quite slow and the food was cold and pretty tasteless. This may well have been a one off as we have visited here on a previous trip and we had a much better experience.
The Atrium Cafe has a huge 2 deck high screen which is used for films and games, you can also get your coffee and cake fix here…beware items here are not free nor are they included in the drinks or dining plans, so you will have to pay extra for them!
All in all I would highly recommend both the Epic and The Haven and furthermore Norwegian Cruise Lines overall.
Since taking our cruise and getting around to publishing this review the Epic has undergone a refurb, I see this as even more reason to take a trip on her again in the future.