When it launched in 2010, Norwegian Epic was hailed as the ship that would set the agenda for 21st-century cruising. In some ways, it did: Many of the amenities — extravagant water slides and a large sports complex, cutting-edge entertainment, 20 food venues, and a cabin complex designed for solo travelers — have appeared on Norwegian Cruise Line's subsequent ships. And some of the concepts have been "borrowed" by other lines as well.
What We Love
Great Bars: Whether you choose to party at the South Beach-inspired, open-air Spice H20, sip vodka at the SVEDKA Ice Bar, or bowl at O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill, there's a bar for just about every type of drinker.
Impressive Entertainment: The choices here are playful and well-executed: Look for a real big top, with aerialists and musicians performing the Cirque Dreams dinner show. Or check out "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" debuting on the main stage. There's also a good comedy scene, courtesy of Chicago's The Second City troupe.
Best Known For
Innovative Specialty Cabins: The stateroom design succeeds greatly in The Haven, a complex of luxury suites, as well as in studios, funky little cabins for solo travelers.
Dining Choices: You can eat your way through cuisines from around the world, though at specialty dining venues you'll have to pay to do so. Among the complimentary choices is the Manhattan Room, a main dining room built for romance (the look is reminiscent of a New York supper club) with a live band and celebrity impersonators.
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Who It's Best For
Millennials and Boomers: This is a fun, casual ship with a lively atmosphere and plenty of things to do.
Families: Kids will be well entertained in the Splash Academy, and teens get a separate lounge. The Sports Complex and Aqua Park also have plenty of features to appeal to the whole family, including a college regulation-size basketball court.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Standard Cabins Have Quirky Designs: In an attempt to provide more space, the designers created staterooms with wavy walls, rounded beds, and deconstructed bathrooms ... all of which feel a bit odd. (Did anyone ever ask for a sink by the bed?)
Watch the Spending: You may get an amazing deal on the fare itself, but you'll want to keep track of your spending account once on board. From drinks and specialty dining to spa treatments and interesting fitness classes, it's easy to run up a sizable tab.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Norwegian Epic at a Glance
- Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Class: Epic
- Number of Passengers: 4100
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2010
- Refurbish Date: 2015