First impression on boarding the Norwegian Epic is experiencing the wide open spaces – it’s massive, yet offers abundant comfy nooks and crannies to relax in. The décor is lovely with tasteful coloring, lighting, and architectural design.
First stop was to eat lunch at Shanghais’ Noodle Bar where my family and I ordered delicious ala carte dumplings, spring rolls, lo mein, and rice dishes. It’s a great atmosphere as you watch your food being prepared in front of you. Cost is $2-3 per item. While eating we had the added pleasure of enjoying some terrific blues music being played across the way at Fat Cats.
Now it was off to find our stateroom on Deck 14. This took some major detective work as there are no markings and if a room steward hadn’t opened a corridor door we wouldn’t have known where to go. This area of the ship is where the family staterooms are located and they are just steps from the children’s play area and the pool area a deck above. Stateroom 14096 is at the very end of a winding hallway next to a secret door to the gym. The lack of foot traffic is a plus and being so close to the gym and spa is a bonus.
Once inside the balcony stateroom, well, I sounded like Nancy Kerrigan after she was hit in the knee with a crowbar – why, WHY, W-H-Y!!!??? What a design disappointment these New Wave staterooms are. It’s cool looking with the contemporary curved walls and ceilings that supposedly maximize the living space. As for the bathroom – there isn’t one. Somebody thought it would be crafty to break apart the shower and toilet and put them behind retracting smoked glass doors. There’s a curtain to separate the shower and toilet, but the sink is outside in the cabin area. My quad stateroom is 216 square feet, but it feels so much smaller. There are two lower beds and floor-to-ceiling glass door that opens to a big private balcony, a sitting area, a flat screen television, mini-bar, and a tea and coffee maker. The closets and drawers are across from the sitting area (3rd berth) and when the ceiling bed (4th berth) is retracted you can’t open the closets. My family and I are literally colliding into each other. These rooms are fine for two people, but for a family of three or four it’s just too cramped.
It’s a shame I had to devote so much negative space to the stateroom issue because the rest of the ship and the crew are fantastic. The gym is the biggest I’ve seen on any ship and is equipped with abundant exercise equipment, work out rooms, and a squash court. The spa is lovely and offers an escape from the non-stop action around the ship.
This ship is hopping with activities from bow to stern. The pool deck is huge and offers a lot of sun and shaded areas. The slides are huge with the 200-foot-long Epic Plunge being the highlight. The rock climbing and repelling wall (the only one at sea) is pretty cool as is the outdoor ice rink (not real ice, but oiled Teflon that ice skates can glide across), spider web climb cage, and bungee jumper area.
For dinner it was off to the Cirque Dreams and Dinner show that is a two hour theatrical dining experience held in the Spiegel Tent room. Cover charge is $15 for general seating and $20 for premium seating. This one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience is performed in the air, while juggling a four course, fixed-menu dinner. The food and acrobatics were excellent; however, the pantomime show in between acts was loud and very annoying at times. Additionally some of the dialogue was not suitable for young people.
After dinner it was off to observe all the nightlife and no other ship on the high seas can touch this vessel in the sheer number of bars and entertainment options. It’s truly…Epic.
Stay tuned: Tomorrow we’ll talk more about staterooms, breakfast with the Nickelodeon characters, Svedka Ice Bar, O’Sheehans, bowling, Teppanyaki, Blue Man Group, Fat Cats and more.