Norwegian Epic looks like a sleek block of floating ice adorned with a blue-and-white sailor’s cap resting proudly atop the highest point of the ship.
With at least 18 different types of staterooms and even more variation in pricing levels, Epic has accommodations for everyone’s budget and whims.
In a first for a mass-market cruise line, every outside stateroom on the Epic has a balcony. Norwegian Cruise Line calls these new cabins New Wave, and they’re not kidding. From curvy walls to translucent showers and bathrooms, there is nothing ordinary about this ship. Yes, bathroom walls are nearly see-through. For the bashful, there is a divider curtain between the rest of the room and the toilet.
Another cruise-industry first is the introduction of Studio staterooms for solo travelers—brought to life by a team of yacht designers who created a livable stateroom in a mere 100 square feet. Choosing a studio also gives you key-card access to the Studio Lounge, which has its own bar and hosts Continental breakfasts and nightly get-togethers exclusively for Studio guests. An alternative to singles mixers, it’s bright and airy and provides a much more relaxed setting to mingle with other solo travelers.
Up on decks 16 and 17, in the sailor-hat area, are the Courtyard Villas and Suites—there are a few more on decks 10 through 14 as well. Norwegian calls this “ship within a ship” concept The Haven. Guests get access to the Posh Beach Club for a private sunbathing area and an elegant private club serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other perks include 24/7 butler service and a private pool and sundeck.
NCL’s latest cruise ships boast an unbeatable lineup of included and for-fee restaurants that run the gamut of international influences and experiences. Shanghai’s Noodle Bar was switched to complimentary in 2015, joining the Great Outdoors grill and ever-popular O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill casual-fun no-fee options. Also, outdoor adults-only deck area Spice H2O serves a mid-day buffet. And there’s also the “action station” buffet at Garden Café, Taste flexible dining room and Manhattan Room—the closest thing NCL has to a formal main restaurant.
The for-fee alternative restaurants on this ship are all across the class and on many other ships. For a fixed surcharge, there’s Moderno Churrascaria, serving Brazilian rodizio and South American salads at $24.95 per person. Then there’s Teppanyaki: Japanese dinner with flair, prepared at large grills with many knife theatrics for $29.95 per person. The line’s signature French fine dining restaurant, Le Bistro, and Italian countryside trattoria, La Cucina, are priced a la carte. Also priced a la carte are Cagney’s Steakhouse, which features a classic American steakhouse menu, and Wasabi, which serves sushi and yakitori.
The Haven VIP area has two of its own restaurants: a casual grill and a formal sit-down restaurant. Both are complimentary to Haven guests only.
Bars & Lounges
No matter the time of day, Epic’s array of boozy hangouts offers a non-stop bar-hop. Waves Pool Bar is a come-one-come-all hub for day drinking and social relaxation. For a more adult scene, check out Spice H2O or buy a pass to Posh Beach Club, which has its own full-service bar and other amenities. Guests staying in villas get free access to this venue.
If you need a break from the tropical heat, pay a visit to the surreally chilly lair that is the SVEDKA Ice Bar—a cruise industry first that is only available on a few Norwegian ships. This Scandinavian style ice bar is so frozen-cold that guests have to wear coats and hats. It’s only open at night, and reservations are strongly recommended (even though the maximum stay with paid drink/admission is 45 minutes).
Other watering holes include Shaker’s Martini Bar, Maltings Whiskey Bar, the Sake Bar at Wasabi, and the Cascades Bar in Epic Casino.
The entertainment on this ship is superlative, and while Norwegian does change out headline performers and brand partnerships, the program only seems to only get better. The latest offering is The Cavern Club—inspired by the club in Liverpool where the Beatles first rose to U.K. fame. This is an intimate show—allowing a maximum of 160 people.
The main production shows are Priscilla Queen of the Desert (one of the most far-out and beloved LGBTQ-friendly musicals of Generation X) and dance extravaganza Burn the Floor.
Two awesome live productions of totally different types reside in their own small showrooms. In the Spiegel Tent “big top at sea,” there’s Cirque Dreams ® and Dinner. In this interactive and enthralling theater experience, Cirque performers put on a jaw-dropping show while people watch and enjoy a wonderful meal simultaneously. The show is $29 per person for general seating and $39 for premium seating. On the completely different end of the spectrum, Headliners Comedy Club features the brilliant Midwestern homegrown Second City improv comedy troupe. Check out some of America’s best up-and-coming comics as they sing, sketch and goof off for your entertainment.
Late-night fun can be found at Bliss Ultra Lounge, the Ibiza-inspired Spice H2O party under the stars. And at least once per sailing, there’s a White Hot Party on the pool deck.
Finally, there’s the 13,000 square foot casino—the biggest in the cruise line’s fleet. It has two bars—one in the center and one a level above and adjacent.
This ship’s jaw-dropping array of recreational options can be heard, felt, and seen even from afar. Brightly colored waterslides, including the 200-foot Epic Plunge, twist and turn their way around the pool deck. They’re part of a large Aqua Park that encompasses two pools, five whirlpools, a kiddie splash complex and SplashGolf. This last one was introduced in 2015 and luckily not limited to kids only, because adults are just as eager to try it.
The water park takes up most of the space in the main activity pools; so if you fancy a more relaxed and adult pool hangout, head to Spice H2O’s adults-only pool. There’s also a pool on deck 16 that has reserved access for Haven suite guests.
Norwegian Epic’s sporty recreations are numerous and include the first rappelling wall at sea—33 feet high and 64 feet wide. Other Sports Complex crowd-pleasers are the bungee trampoline, batting cage and climbing cage. All of this is on deck 17, with the exception of the extreme rock climbing/rappelling wall, which extends from deck 15 to 16.
The largest bowling alley at sea can be found in the friendly pub hangout O’Sheehan’s on deck 6. This venue is conveniently open 24 hours.
- It’s a challenge to find food that’s vegetarian, gluten-free or customizable for any specialty diets.
- Standard staterooms are cramped, especially bathrooms and bed space.