Norwegian Cruise Line launched the 153,000-ton, 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic in June 2010. The ship is filled with innovations, and cruise travelers love the wide range of high-quality entertainment, food, and venues.
Let's take a tour of the Norwegian Epic cruise ship.
The Norwegian Epic has 2,114 total guest cabins including 78 suites, 1,351 balconies, 39 spa cabins, 372 family cabins, 560 inside cabins, 128 Studio cabins for solo travelers, and 42 wheelchair accessible staterooms. All ocean view cabins have a balcony.
The cabins include interesting features such as curved walls and energy-saving key card slots to turn on the lights and conserve electricity. They also have a split toilet and shower, and the sink is in the cabin area. Since the walls are curved, every other outside cabin has the furniture reversed--some have the bed near the balcony; others have the sofa/sitting area near the balcony. All cabins have plenty of storage space and a good shower.
Norwegian Epic Villas
The two-deck Norwegian Epic Courtyard Villa complex is located on decks 16 and 17 and is comprised of 60 Suites and Villas. All guests staying in Deluxe Owner's Suites, Courtyard Villas, and Courtyard Penthouses have access to the private courtyard. In addition to the luxurious suites and courtyard, the complex has an elegant restaurant and casual private Posh Beach Club.
This "ship-within-a-ship" area should be very appealing to affluent family groups and couples or those who want both luxurious accommodations and service along with the excellent entertainment and diverse dining venues found on a large ship like the Norwegian Epic.
Norwegian Epic Dining
Fans of NCL's "Freestyle Cruising" will love the 20 different dining options on the Norwegian Epic. The ship does not even have a dining room with traditional assigned seating. However, the 600-seat Manhattan Room, which is a lovely art deco supper club, is open for breakfast and dinner and looks much like a traditional cruise ship main dining room. The meals at the Manhattan Room and five other venues are included in basic cruise fare; the other venues have a fixed surcharge or are a la carte.
Norwegian Epic Bars and Lounges
Like most cruise ships, the Norwegian Epic has a wide variety of bars and lounges designed for conversation, drinking, dancing, and listening to music or comedy. Some of the bars are familiar from other NCL ships like the martini bar, whiskey bar, and Bliss Ultra Lounge.
The most innovative and talked-about bar on the ship is the Ice Bar, which features a bar, walls, tables, stools, glasses and life-size sculptures all made from ice. Guests are given hooded coats and gloves to keep them warm since the room's temperature is 17 degrees Fahrenheit. The tiny freezer only accommodates 25, and the $20 per person includes two signature cocktails and 45 minutes in the Ice Bar, which is long enough. It is open from 5-10 p.m. nightly.
Much has been written about the entertainment on the Norwegian Epic. The variety and quality are much like Las Vegas. Being able to see Cirque Dreams & Dinner, Burn the Floor dance group, Escape the Big Top, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical on one cruise ship (and in one week) is amazing! Although the Cirque Dreams has an extra fee, the others are all included in the basic cruise fare.
Norwegian Epic Interior Common Areas
In addition to the cabins, suites, dining venues, bars, and lounges discussed above, the Norwegian Epic's other interior common areas are contemporary and fun. The ship is large, and the decor is much like a mega-hotel or resort. One note to remember to help navigate the ship--the carpet on the starboard side is blue/brown and on the port side, it is brown/red.
The atrium is the central hub of the ship and has a large video screen, seating, and a bar. An escalator goes up to deck 7 and the casino, shopping mall, and many of the restaurants and other bars. The central core of the ship on these two decks is always buzzing with activity.
The large and quiet Mandara Spa has many interesting treatments and a beautiful space. The fitness center has excellent equipment and classes in yoga, spinning, stretching, and conditioning.
The Villas complex on decks 16 and 17 give the Norwegian a top-heavy, boxy look. However, the outdoor deck areas and Aqua Park are well-designed and fun. The three water slides are impressive and exciting. One difference from many large ships--the two swimming pools are both very small.
In addition to the water slides and two small pools, the Aqua Park includes five whirlpools, a wading pool, and a kid's pool in the children's Splash and Play Zone.
Guests in the Villas have their own private beach club area that has terrific views of the pool deck The Villas Courtyard also has its own pool.
Norwegian Epic - Cruise Itineraries and Destinations
The Norwegian Epic has itineraries in two different parts of the world. sails Europe in the late spring through fall, primarily from its home port of Barcelona, although some cruises embark in Southampton or Rome.
In the late fall, winter, and early spring, the Norwegian Epic sails the Caribbean from her home port of Port Canaveral, Florida.
Norwegian Epic - Summary and Conclusion
The Norwegian Epic was the most-talked-about, the most-anticipated mainstream cruise ship of 2010, and the long wait was worth it. Norwegian Cruise Line has included many functional and decorative innovations in its design, and the ship's extensive common areas remind me of many Las Vegas resort hotels. Topping off the ship is the entertainment, and the cruise line has raised the bar for other mainstream cruise lines with its well-known entertainment groups.