Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Built: June 2010
Class: Epic class
Routes: 2- to 7- day Mediterranean cruises; 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings
Norwegian Epic attracts families that crave variety and round-the-clock diversions (and who don’t mind additional fees).
Those averse to overstimulation and crowds, or seekers of intimate spaces and quiet.
- The Aqua Park, home to the 200-foot Epic Plunge
- Performances by Blue Man Group, exclusively on the Epic
- The massive Sports Complex that includes rappelling and climbing walls, and basketball courts
- Vodka shots in the coolest lounge at sea, the Svedka Ice Bar
- Tranquil moments at The Haven, the Epic’s ship-within-a-ship club
When Norwegian Epic debuted, everything about it was brash. Not only did the ship pioneer the concept of single-occupancy cabins, but it also introduced Cirque du Soleil-style performances and the first-ever ice bar at sea. Innovations aside, the ship delivers a solid roster of entertainment and dining venues — and an abundance of choices. From a tricked-out water park to dueling piano shows, one thing is for sure: you won’t suffer from cabin fever.
Tip: Just like specialty restaurants, shows can fill up quickly — and even the free ones require reservations. Book 45 days in advance at My NCL to secure your spot.
The biggest head turners are the solo-occupancy cabins, an industry first. They’re a smart solution to the often-costly singles supplement and, while few sailings have cultivated a singles scene, this ship sets the stage: LED lights create a party vibe, and the keycard-accessed Studio Lounge acts as a space for passengers to connect.
Norwegian Epic’s other staterooms, which are comfortable and space-efficient, have some interesting design features: Picture curvy walls, domed ceilings rimmed with neon, and separate showers and toilets with creative — if impractical — translucent walls. (Due to passenger requests for privacy, they are now covered with curtains).
Families will find stateroom categories configured to accommodate a multiple-member brood, including some connected to adjacent cabins and others strategically located near the kids’ area.
The Mandara Spa cabins — which grant access to spa facilities — launched on the Epic and are an aesthetic break from the ship’s otherwise bright décor. In these rooms, you’ll find folding screens with bamboo and cherry blossom motifs, circular beds, whirlpools, and mother-of-pearl mosaics.
Tip: After boarding at their leisure on embarkation day, suite guests can head to Cagney’s Steakhouse for a sit-down lunch.
Activities and Entertainment:
Children won’t be twiddling their thumbs during sea days on this ship. They can spend the afternoon at the Aqua Park — a massive complex of pools, fountains, and water slides — or descend a rappelling wall at the sprawling Sports Complex, belt out tunes in a karaoke space that doubles as a cinema, or play Wii® games on a two-story screen in the atrium.
At night, Blue Man Group and Cirque Dreams® and Dinner (both new offerings) headline programming — and, even if you’ve seen the shows elsewhere, they still make for amusing evenings out. The Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club always bring down the house, as do the Howl at the Moon dueling piano concert and the Second City improv shows.
Unlike on many ships, the pace of activities on Epic only picks up as the night progresses, and there are several choices for where to hang out: Knock back an icewine and vodka shot at the Svedka Ice Bar, a cold chamber in which parkas are provided. The no-cover Bliss Ultra Lounge takes on the air of a velvet-rope club with purple ottomans, gold accents, and a touch of leopard print. Or finish up your night at Spice H20, an outdoor space that transforms after hours into an Ibiza-style nightclub complete with flashing lights and pulsing music.
Tip: If you’re planning to try your luck at the casino, pre-purchase credits ($10 for $15 worth of table games or $20 for slots) for discounts that aren’t available once the ship sails.
Food and Dining:
With 18 dining venues — nine of them specialty restaurants — Norwegian Epic is a floating buffet of options.
The menus at the complimentary eateries don’t hide any surprise hits, but they earn kudos for ambience. The Manhattan Room, for example, has art deco décor, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a five-piece jazz band that plays while diners take to the floor.
From there, the specialty restaurants take you around the globe: There’s a Chinese noodle bar, a French bistro, a Brazilian steakhouse, an Italian cucina, a teppanyaki grill, and a sushi bar. Those who prefer stateside fare will enjoy the rib eyes in the den-like Cagney’s Steakhouse.
Download the complimentary iConcierge app to book restaurant and shore excursions, and to message fellow passengers. (Psst: You can make reservations without paying onboard Wi-Fi fees.)
Wii is a registered trademark of Nintendo of America Inc.
Cirque Dreams is a registered trademark of Cirque Holdings LLC.