norwegian epic - ncl norwegian cruise line - cruise ship review & photos

Norwegian Epic cruise ship review with photos - NCL Norwegian Cruise Line - www.ShipParade.com
.

Place the cursor over the photos to read the descriptions; if you click on any of the thumbnail pictures, the full-sized photo will open in a pop up screen. Please note full sized photos may take a moment to load.

Click here for many more Norwegian Epic photos & facts 

Trust NCL to launch a new ship with a bang! Long before Norwegian Epic entered service, the publicity machine made sure we all knew that this ship would be different. This was an intriguing thought as NCL basically invented modern pleasure-cruising 45 years ago. After many setbacks Norwegian Epic left her builders at St. Nazaire, France on June 17, 2010 and headed for Rotterdam, Netherlands. There, she made quite an impression. Looking top heavy at 153,000 tons, Epic will never win a beauty contest but you should not judge this book by its cover. It's once you get on board that you notice the many "Freestyle" innovations that NCL incorporated in this enormous cruise ship. From new stateroom design to sensational entertainment options, NCL have managed to make Norwegian Epic the epicenter of the cruise industry.

.
Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom #13055 Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom #13055 Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom #13055 Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom #13055
Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom Deluxe Family Balcony Stateroom
It's the talk of the (floating) town. Norwegian Epic's staterooms are ... eh ... different. They have curved walls and semi-open bathrooms, with a toilet cubicle on one side and a frosted glass shower stall on the other side. Think of it what you will, the fact remains that these so-called "Wave" Staterooms are far from large. After all, NCL wants you to party and spend as little time in your cabin as possible. That said, the compact standard staterooms come well equipped and sport a distinct, clean and utterly comfortable look. With excellent lighting, a decent balcony and lots of storage space, chances are you will feel right at home here.
.
Spa Suite #14151 Spa Suite # 14151 Spa Suite # 14151 Spa Suite balcony
Spa Suite Spa Suite Spa Suite bathroom Spa Suite balcony
Inside Stateroom #13036 Inside Stateroom #13036 Studio cabin corridor Studio #11513
Inside Stateroom Inside Stateroom Studio cabin corridor Studio
Norwegian Epic is the only contemporary mass market ship that has dedicated single cabins. Initially the vessel's studio accommodation was designed for young, budget-conscious guests but by waiving the single surcharge for the closet-like studios the line has create the first seagoing singles club. What a great initiative! An eerie lit narrow corridor connects all studios, that are modeled after Japan's capsule hotels. They have a separate shower and toilet, but that's about it. If you want to stretch your legs, head for the dedicated Studio Living Room which is accessible for studio guests only.
.
Spice H2O Spice H2O Pool Bar Basketball court One of many water slides
Spice H2O Spice H2O Pool Bar Basketball Court Water slides galore
Water slides Pool Deck Epic Plunge Aqua Park
Water slides Pool Deck Epic Plunge Aqua Park
Aqua Park and Epic Plunge The Courtyard Complex Aqua Park Aqua Park
Aqua Park Courtyard Complex Aqua Park Aqua Park
Befitting a ship that serves as an ambassador of the "Freestyle" concept, Norwegian Epic boasts an impressive array of "fun in the sun" activities. Her top decks are given over to the joys of sunning, plunging, climbing, dancing and drinking. The huge Aqua Park has two swimming pools and a mind-boggling bundle of water slides culminating in the much-publicized Epic Plunge. While definitely popular, these gadgets take up an awful lot of space resulting in what will be the most crowded pool deck in history on any sea day. Prepare to battle for deck chairs! Probably the best place to escape the craze is Spice H2O, a novel concept featuring terraced sun decks, a pool that transforms into a dance floor at night and a giant television screen.
.
Great Outdoors Restaurant Garden Café Garden Café Entrance to La Cucina
Great Outdoors Restaurant Garden Café Garden Café Entrance to La Cucina
Garden Café La Cucina La Cucina La Cucina
Garden Café La Cucina La Cucina La Cucina
Every large cruise ship has its bottlenecks. On NCL's Jewel class ships, the buffet restaurant can get extremely crowded on sea days. On Norwegian Epic, the design team have moved the buffet restaurant from the stern to the bow, all the way up on deck 15. This is one of the few public rooms that boast a good view of the sea and given NCL's excellent buffets, Epic's Garden Café will undoubtedly draw crowds. On peak hours, extra seating capacity comes in the form of the lovely La Cucina Italian restaurant, located one deck lower and accessible by stairs from the forward part of the Garden Café. The decor of both restaurant is very attractive, with the Garden Café having a slightly more contemporary look, while La Cucina oozes atmosphere and is a perfect choice for a romantic Italian dinner.
.
Unidentified yellow object Recess Kid's Club Recess Kid's Club Pulse Fitness Center
Spongebob! Recess Kid's Club Recess Kid's Club Pulse Fitness Center
Spongebob alert! Ever since NCL teamed up with Nickelodeon, there's a good chance you will run into the likes of Dora, Diego and Patrick on Norwegian Epic. Your kids will of course be ecstatic, but judging by the reactions on our short cruise adults are equally taken by these colorful cartoon characters. If you bring the kids on board, make sure to visit the Recess Kid's Club - a heaven on earth for the youngsters. NCL has a great program for kids, with specific activities for all age groups.
.
Elevator Lobby Cagney's Entrance Moderno Churrasceria Cagney's Steakhouse
Elevator Lobby Cagney's Entrance Moderno Churrasceria Cagney's Steakhouse
Cagney's Steakhouse Cagney's Steakhouse Aft Elevator Lobby Maltings Bar
Cagney's Steakhouse Cagney's Steakhouse Aft Elevator Lobby Maltings Bar
Now that we've seen the upper half of Norwegian Epic, we take the elevator down to deck 7. Most public rooms are grouped together on the lowest three decks, with "streets" running the length of the ship. Because of this clever layout, getting lost is virtually impossible but to help orientation the stairways and elevator lobbies are color-coded. All the way aft on deck 7 you will find the entrance to Cagney's Steakhouse and the Moderno Churrasceria. The latter is new to NCL, offering a South American style steakhouse in addition to Cagney's all-American atmosphere. Further forward is the spacious elevator lobby and the inviting Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar. Done in browns and reds, the bar has a somewhat masculine look and feel, which contrasts nicely with the softer color palette of the Shaker's Martini Bar next door.
.
Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar Shaker's Martini Bar
Maltings Bar Maltings Bar Maltings Bar Shaker's Martini Bar
Wasabi Sushi Bar Wasabi Sushi Bar Teppanyaki Shaker's Martini Bar
Wasabi Shushi Bar Wasabi Shushi Bar Teppanyaki Shaker's Martini Bar
One of the greatest assets of Norwegian Epic is the vessel's superb layout of public rooms. Walking from fore to aft on decks 5, 6 and 7, you will pass all bars, lounges and restaurants. Many restaurants are open to the atrium or walkway which makes going out to dinner even more enjoyable. In fact, it pretty much feels like going for a night on the town. The heart of Norwegian Epic is the three-deck Atrium with its huge LED chandelier. Lining the atrium is the attractive Wasabi Sushi Bar, the Sake Bar and the large Teppanyaki section.
.
Atrium LED chandelier Atrium Box Office
Atrium LED Chandelier Atrium Box Office
Shops Shops Shops Shops
Shops Shops Shops Shops
Walking further forward, the reach the retail therapy section. Ah, the joy of shopping! Norwegian Epic's shops offer everything from perfumes to clothing and jewelry. Nothing spectacular, just the regular cruise ship offerings. The shops are set up quite nicely though and before you know it you have reached the forward elevator lobby and the bizarre Bliss Ultra Lounge. Done in the same over the top decor as the clubs on Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Pearl, this is definitely the hot spot of the ship. At night, a DJ plays here to a full house and waitresses wear mini skirts and leather boots. Oh, and be sure to check out the two life-sized horses at the entrance!
.
Bliss Ultra Lounge Bliss Ultra Lounge Bliss Ultra Lounge Bowling Alley
Bliss Ultra Lounge Bliss Ultra Lounge Bliss Ultra Lounge Bowling Alley
Epic Theater entrance Epic Theater Epic Theater Epic Theater
Epic Theater entrance Epic Theater Epic Theater Epic Theater
One deck lower you will find the large Epic Theater. The room is spread out over two decks with nicely staggered and comfortable seating. This is the home of the Blue Man Group, performing exclusively on Norwegian Epic. I saw their show on board and it was a blast. Be sure to make reservations early in the cruise to avoid disappointment as this is one of the must-sees on your cruise. Leave it to NCL to come up with even more novel entertainment options, including a circus troupe performing in what looks like a tent. The Spiegel Tent is two decks high and is home to the reservations-only "Cirque Dreams" show, featuring jugglers, acrobats and a lot of wild costumes. If the likes of Monsieur Minidisc and the Patisserie Sisters appeal to you, you might just enjoy the two-hour dinner show. I wasn't completely convinced and found the show loud and chaotic, but hey... that's me.
.
Spiegel Tent Spiegel Tent Headliners Comedy Club O'Sheehan's Neighborhood
Spiegel Tent Spiegel Tent Headliners Comedy Club O'Sheehan's Neighborhood
Box Office Headliners Comedy Club Headliners Comedy Club O'Sheehan's Neighborhood
Box Office Headliners Comedy Club Headliners Comedy Club O'Sheehan's Neighborhood
Bowling Alley O'Sheehan's Neighborhood O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Atrium Café
Bowling Alley O'Sheehan's Neighborhood O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Atrium Café
Deck 6 is the throbbing pulse of Norwegian Epic. Apart from the Epic Theater and Spiegel Tent, you will also stumble across the Headliners Comedy Club here. Home to both the Second City comedy troupe and the Howl to the Moon dueling pianos, this is a place you don't want to miss. On our preview cruise, the place was packed and the dueling pianos act was a major hit. And when you're all done singing and laughing, head right next door. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood is part pub, part bowling alley, part restaurant. Open around the clock and lining a secondary atrium, this is another triumph of Epic's design team. My tip: come here for breakfast or a quick lunch. It's far more quiet than the buffet restaurant.
.
Epic Casino Epic Casino Epic Casino Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club
Epic Casino Epic Casino Epic Casino Fat Cats Jazz Club
Atrium with Taste Restaurant Fat Cats Jazz Club Noodle Bar Cascades Bar
Atrium with Taste Restaurant Fat Cats Jazz Club Noodle Bar Cascades Bar
Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant The Manhattan Room lobby The Manhattan Room The Manhattan Room
Shanghai's Restaurant The Manhattan Room The Manhattan Room The Manhattan Room
Further aft on deck 6, there's a host of unique spaces to be discovered. First, there's the enormous Epic Casino. Oddly, smoking was allowed here during our preview cruise. Since the casino is an integral part of the atrium, you really couldn't get away from cigarette smoke. I'm sure that once the ship will reach US waters, the smoking policy will be adjusted. Another new culinary addition to Norwegian Epic is the excellent Noodle Bar, offering freshly tossed noodle dishes and dim sums. If you can't get enough of Oriental food, head for Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant. After dinner, you might want to order a drink at Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club. With its vintage looking leather couches, this is perfect place to hang out.
.
Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant
Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant Taste Restaurant
Atrium Café Reception Desk Atrium Café Click Photo Gallery
Atrium Café Reception Desk Atrium Café Click Photo Gallery
Expect to pay a fee for dining in any of the specialty restaurants on board. But rest assured: you won't starve if you don't want to spend any extra money. The Manhattan Room is a stunning restaurant located all the way aft on deck 6, with a wall of glass overlooking the ship's wake. Here, NCL throws in the odd dinner dance and the room is also used as a secondary show lounge. One deck lower is another main restaurant. Taste is at the bottom of the ship's atrium and is decorated in a quaint, bistro-like style. It is a huge room but quite intimate nevertheless. We're now on deck 5, where the vast reception and shore excursion area is located. The Atrium Café serves as the ships coffee bar, serving Lavazza coffee (at a surcharge). Also on this deck are the photo gallery, art gallery and last but not least Le Bistro, the stylish French eatery. NCL was the first mass market cruise line to add a specialty restaurant. Le Bistro has been a firm favorite for decades and our dinner there was proof of that.
.
Le Bistro Le Bistro Le Bistro Art Gallery
Le Bistro Le Bistro Le Bistro Art Gallery
So we come to the end of our whirlwind tour of Norwegian Epic. She's bold, she's big and she's full of contemporary touches. When sailing on this ship, forget all about traditional cruise life. Instead, you should leave your tuxedo at home, bring the kids and start partying! Norwegian Epic was designed to attract a younger crowd that want to a completely unregimented vacation. With 20 restaurants and limitless entertainment offerings, this ship is like Las Vegas at sea. So next time when you're looking to book a week at the Mirage or Caesar's Palace, consider Norwegian Epic. After all, this is a Las Vegas resort that actually sets sail!
 
 

Photos and text: © 2010 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on June 27, 2010

Amenities, decor, charges and services may have changed since this article was written

All rights reserved - Photos and text may not be reproduced without permission