An 'epic' experience - My Family Travels


        I just got back from the vacation of a lifetime onboard the Norwegian Epic. The ship celebrated its first birthday on July 2nd and they had a huge celebration! We departed from Barcelona, Spain on June 26th and set sail for Italy. 

        The first day at sea was awesome. With the weather’s cooperation, my sister and I were able to lay out on the pool deck for hours, with an occasional dip in one of the ships 3 pools. I wish the pools had been larger as they got crowded fast. The unlimited ice cream was definitely my favorite part of the ship.

        On June 28th, we finally reached Florence. The city was 90 minutes away from the port so we had to take a bus to our destination. Upon reaching Florence we took a few hours to walk around the city. Italy truly has the best shopping, particularly on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence. Known for its high end jewelry shops, there are always deals to be discovered. Just remember, you have to ring the door bell to be let into most of the shops. The key to finding the best stores is to get off the main tourist routes. You have to step off the beaten path and explore the smaller roads and alley ways in Italy; they’re completely safe before dark. After shopping, we got back on the bus and took a short but scenic ride to Pisa, Italy, home of the famous leaning tower of Pisa. The tourist center in Pisa is extremely crowded, but you can’t leave without taking a classic photo of pretending to hold up the tower. 

         Our second stop took us to the port of Civitavecchia. From here, we took another lengthy bus ride to the city of Rome. The tour we paid for through NCL allowed for limited time at multiple famous sites including the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, and the Trevi Fountain. An hour maximum at each didn’t allow for the needed time to fully take in all the history, but it gave a good taste. All the sites visited on this tour were crowded with people, food, and people trying to sell you stuff. Learn to bargain with them, it usually works. And don’t forget to try a gelato in every place you visit.

         The final stop was Sorrento. My family took a guided tour through Sorrento, Pompeii and the Isle of Capri. This was by far my favorite stop. It was a great thing that we went to Pompeii in the morning because the heat radiating off the stone would have made it brutal in the afternoon. Pompeii isn’t a beautiful piece of Italian history, but one of the most amazing.The views and sites of Sorrento and Capri were some of the most breathtaking I have ever seen. The ride on the Funicolare tram in Capri was well worth the wait as hiking to the top of the mountain would have taken an hour. The SNAV boat ride to Capri was bumpy, so definitely not ideal for those who get sea sick.

       Our next day was a relaxing one at sea. Sleeping past 6am felt amazing and I was very glad we took advantage of the free room service. We learned the hard way that pool chairs need to be reserved early in the morning, the biggest downside to cruises. The Epic was the most beautiful ship I have ever been on and it had the best cuisine in all of its 19 restaurants. I would recommend this vacation to anyone of any age.

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