Norwegian Cruise Line’s long anticipated Epic has finally arrived, and it was definitely worth the wait! Long an industry innovator with a list of firsts that include the first alternative dining restaurant at sea and an exclusive, secluded complex of luxury villas atop the ship, NCL yet again breaks new ground in maritime entertainment, even more new dining options and an out of the box ship design.
Many of the cruise lines have relaxed their dress codes these days, but none to the extent that Norwegian Cruise Lines has done on all of their ships and the Epic is no exception. The customary formal nights…two on a 7 night cruise are part of the schedule, but more than any other cruise line, your participation in dressing up is not required. Approximately 60% of passengers still do elect to dress formally on these evenings, but no one is looking if you decide to be one of the 40% still in nice but not formal attire.
Curved Walls Not Boxes
NCL has stepped out of the box by transforming the boxy cabins typical aboard all other vessels into curved-walled staterooms with built-in cabinets and closet space that increase storage by at least 50% over other cabin designs. All aspects of the room are curved, the beds, the love seat, the tables. It is amazing how much this fluid feel adds to your feeling of relaxation and tranquility during your cruise.
Enjoy A Full Sized Jacuzzi In Your Room
There are spa cabins that include a full sized Jacuzzi tub …in the room …to enjoy a movie or the fabulous scenery you are sailing past while taking a relaxing soak. Bathroom design is as innovative as it comes in all cabins with the sink now in the room and the shower and commode areas separated from one another and each MUCH larger than other cruise line’s facilities.
The New Single Passenger Studios
Another first and a MAJOR development in servicing the cruising public is the creation of cabins designed with the single traveler in mind, the Studios. These 128 cabins, 90 of which connect are compact, but very comfy cabins sold strictly to the single traveler …at a price that is approximately half what they are charged by other cruise lines! They are all contained in a private, key card entry section of the ship and include access and use of their own lounge and club. This is a truly a brilliant idea come to life and will no doubt be copied by other lines in the future, but for now…it is another exclusive on the NCL Epic.
Luxury Reaches New Levels
NCL has also expanded on its already very popular Courtyard villas concept, essentially an upscale small ship within a large ship idea. It offers a private complex of 60 suites and penthouses on Epic’s two uppermost decks. Here passengers share exclusive areas loaded with luxury options, such as their own dining room, nightclub and fitness center, plus a private pool deck area adorned with thick two person lounges and attentive service for food and beverages on deck.
There is so much live entertainment aboard Epic, you won’t want to put your head on a pillow until the wee hours of the morning. Some of Epic’s hallmark entertainment is unique and found ONLY on the Epic due to exclusive contracts with shows normally only seen in entertainment Mecca’s such as Las Vegas. You can see headliners like Blue Man Group, or Legends in Concert, a show that impersonates the greats of Rock n’ Roll such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner.
For more musical enjoyment there is the interactive Howling at the Moon, the Greatest Rock n’ Roll Dueling Piano Show. Anyone who has been to New Orleans will recognize the cool jazz and blues you will enjoy in Fat Cats. Comedy is front and center with the Second City Comedy Troupe …a group of world famous improv comedians. There are 20 bars and lounges on board the Epic. One of the most unusual is the super cool – Ice Bar where everything in the bar is made of ice…including the glasses containing your drinks….yet again, another first at sea for Norwegian Cruise Lines.
If you love your home Wii you’ll be delirious when you see the 2 story screen waiting to take you on. Or perhaps you will want to bowl a few games with family and friends on one of the three bowling alleys on board. Every night the adults only H2O Club offers the perfect setting for dancing under the stars against the backdrop of a huge outdoor screen.
It is perhaps no surprise that, Epic, the largest ship afloat boasts the largest fitness center on the high seas, with a rows upon rows of state of the art equipment and weight areas that stretches the length of a football field. What does surprise you though is the activity assortment found on the open decks. The expected pools and Jacuzzis are there, but so is a water park with 3…yes, 3 water slides. For the active there is also a rock climbing wall, a repelling wall, a pongee trampoline, along with basketball, tennis, and ice skating. Worried about too many kids ruining your day at the pool? Well, there is an adults only pool for you. They really have thought about pleasing everyone!
There are 20 dining options on board the Epic. 11 are included in your cruise fare and 9 carry an additional, and understandable surcharge ranging from $10 to$25 per person. There are dinner clubs like The Manhattan Room where you can dine and dance, music provided by a live band for a dance in between courses in this high style dining venue. Or the Cirque Dreams Dinner Theater may be your choice to enjoy acrobatics flying high while you are enjoying dinner below. The types of restaurants are diverse and you are sure to find a favorite. They include French, Japanese, Chinese, Sushi, an American Steak House, American, an Argentinian Steak House, a Noodle bar, Italian, an Irish pub, a 24/7 Pizza Cafe, a Garden Cafe for soups and salads, and casual dining…and let’s not forget hot dogs, burgers and fries by the pool. One needs a week to even make a dent in all the possibilities.
We were among the fortunate who experienced this ship early and can assist with all the plans and reservations that will make your trip aboard her the best cruise vacation ever. Because of the diverse options in accommodations, dining and entertainment it is imperative that you work with an agent who has been on her.
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