The Epic is the largest ship in the Norwegian Caribbean fleet. When it began to sail it did not get the recognition the company hoped for because the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship afloat part of the Royal Caribbean fleet, set sail a few months later. We are glad to finally have a chance to check it out and see what it is like for ourselves.
NCL began the “anytime” dining concept, rather than having a few huge dining rooms and early and late assigned seating. Some ships have tried to implement the anytime concept with old floor plans and this has not worked well. This ship has a mixture of small restaurants that feature a certain style of cuisine and charge a fee with slighter larger ones where passengers can eat for no additional charge. Since we are usually more than satisfied with any cooking that is not mine, we tend to choose the free restaurants and last night, it appeared everyone else tried to eat free as well. But the staff was ready for us with restaurant style blinkers so we wouldn’t have to stand in line and coupons for free champagne while we waited. Free liquor is a great way to keep down complaints.
The design of the cabin makes us feel like they innovated for the sake of being somewhat different. As we walk in the door we find the shower to the right and and the toilet in a separate cubicle to the left. The sink is out in the open. All in all this means that these facilities take an inordinate amount of space and you can’t just poke your head out to talk to someone in the hall without exposing your spouse who is taking a shower.
Large TV screens two stories high and appropriately wide both inside and out are much more appreciated. The outside one shows drive-in style movies in the evening, but entertained us even as we sat outside enjoying the blue sky and the waves after breakfast. A film of aerial views of Greece was playing and kept drawing our eyes away from the Caribbean to great views of temples, beach, and sugar cube towns. Probably Greece has moved up on our places-to-go list as a result. The inside TV showed the NFL football games the men were hoping not to miss. The cheering fans with buckets of chicken wings and beer felt as if they were there with the huge display. Too bad our beloved Bears bit the dust in overtime.
We like to briskly walk around the deck in a vain effort to eliminate some of the excessive calories we are ingesting. We were disappointed to find that there is no walking/jogging deck on the Epic. Rather one side of one deck is reserved for this that offers little view of the sea and fresh air. It is surrounded by noisy air intake machinery and we couldn’t even listen to our podcasts as we walked. Much deck space is devoted to the health club which has great machinery, including some torture equipment I did not recognize. Taking a class used to be free in the old days; now they are $20 each. Ouch!
We chose the Epic for its entertainment and the Blue Man Group, the first show we saw, did not disappoint. The show included many of the indescribable elements we remembered from seeing it at home including the ending which involved unrolling large streams of paper overhead. The passengers sitting in the first two rows wore ponchos to shield the from the flying paint generated by the enthusiastic drumming. This is a show you need to see for yourself and seeing it again was great fun.