Go big or go home. Ok so maybe you won’t once you see Norwegian Cruise Line‘s largest ship to date, the NCL Epic. This is the third largest cruise ship in the world to date behind Royal Caribbean‘s Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. Built in France, the NCL Epic had her maiden voyage on June 24, 2010. With a passenger capacity of 4,100 (double occupancy), and a crew of 1,753, this massive ship is 1,081 feet long and has a Gross Register Tonnage of 155,873. Unique to this ship is that 100% of outside cabins have balconies, which should make every passenger a happy one. Prices always go down after new ships are introduced and we are so glad we waited to take our turn on this mighty ship. We were more than ready to start our cruise on the Norwegian Epic.
Unique to the Norwegian Epic:
- The tube and bowl water slide in its Aqua park
- Not only does she have a rock climbing wall, but also a rappelling wall!
- Two three-lane bowling alleys with one in O’Sheehan’s and the other in Bliss Lounge
- The only 17-degree ice bar at sea: The Svedka Ice Bar
- The controversial to some and innovative to others new stateroom layout
What did I like about the NCL Epic? Variety is always a great thing to have in one’s life and the Epic was a brand new adventure for me. I absolutely love how the shopping section of the ship is on deck 7 and laid out like a true shopping area instead of an afterthought. The Norwegian Epic has the first Smashbox in a box store at sea. How cool is that? Of course, they have your typical ship goodies like Epic t-shirts, a liquor store to bring goodies home, and as you might expect these days on a cruise ship, a Bijoux Terner store. I loved the variety of restaurants available and as a result, we only ended up eating in the main dining room once during dinner service. This is definitely what Norwegian does best. This picture is inside Taste, one of the main dining rooms, for our first meal while onboard the ship.
Dining options onboard the Epic:
- Cagney’s Steakhouse: Norwegian‘s signature steakhouse (price per person $25)
- Courtyard Grill: exclusive to Suite and Villa guests
- The Haven Restaurant: exclusive to Suite and Villa guests
- Garden Cafe: the ship’s large buffet on deck 15
- Great Outdoors: just outside the Garden Cafe near the pool with hamburgers, hot dogs, cookies, and soft serve ice cream
- La Cucina Italian Restaurant: a cozy and intimate Italian restaurant (price per person $10)
- Le Bistro French Restaurant: French bistro (price per person $20)
- Moderno Churrascaria: For the meat eaters out there (price per person $20)
- Shanghai’s Noodle Bar: Noodles, wok dishes, dim sum, and more (a la carte pricing)
- O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill: American classics in a bar & grill setting
- Pizza 24/7: pizza delivered almost anywhere on the ship for $5
- Room Service: a small menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items (more for suite and villa guests) delivered to your stateroom. (Delivery charge from midnight – 5 am)
- Shanghai’s Chinese Restaurant: Chinese food prepared in front of you in their open kitchen (price per person $15)
- Spiegel Tent – Cirque Dreams & Dinner: Dinner and a show like no other (surcharge per person)
- Taste: one of the main dining rooms as seen here in this picture. You can actually look down from deck 7 by Shakers the martini bar and deck 6 by the casino onto the main floor of the restaurant below.
- Teppanyaki: 24 oversized Hibachi grills set the scene for an amazing dinner and entertainment option (price per person $25)
- Manhattan Room: one of the main dining rooms
- Wasabi Sushi Bar: Sushi and sashimi bar (a la carte pricing)
What else I really liked about the Norwegian Epic was the service. I have been on 15 cruises thus far and the level of service and attention to detail that Norwegian Cruise Line employees provided was superb and unexpected for a contemporary cruise line. From Genevieve in the Noodle Bar to Ivy and Maria Lourdes in Teppanyaki to Avoni the hostess for the Svedka Ice Bar, I was completely blown away by how incredible nice each of them were and how attentive they were to passengers. Even when things weren’t exactly as they should be, I was always impressed at how they worked hard to make things right. Ivy in Teppanyaki took time out to help me make the seahorse origami that I just couldn’t master and Avoni was kind enough to give me two parkas for the Svedka Ice Bar. Guess she knew I was going to be cold in there next to the guy in the picture! These little gestures may not seem like anything, but they meant the world to me. Kudos to Norwegian for hiring quality employees who truly care about their passengers!
If you’re interested in where the Norwegian Epic is sailing in 2014/2015, she will sail the Caribbean until April and then will switch to a Mediterranean itinerary ranging in length from a 3- to 7-days. There are even 11-night to 28-night cruises available during her transition time from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. Here’s where she will be May 11, 2014:
Western Mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Epic:
Depart Barcelona Sunday May 11, 2014 6:00 PM
Monday, May 12, 2014: At Sea
Tuesday, May 13, 2014: Naples
Wednesday, May 14, 2014: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Thursday, May 15, 2014: Florence/Pisa (Livorno)
Friday, May 16, 2014: Cannes
Saturday, May 17, 2014: Palma, Majorca, Spain
Arrive Barcelona Sunday, May 18, 2014 5:00 AM
Mini-suites start at only $1329 per person, balcony cabins start at only $1149 per person, and inside cabins start at only $849 per person plus taxes, fees, and port charges.
Next time we will get a more in depth look at cabins, public area, and of course, what everyone always asks about: the food. The NCL Epic is a beautiful ship with so much to offer that I couldn’t possibly cover the ship in one post so come back for more!