Norwegian Epic Makes Grand Finale in U.S.
Norwegian Cruise Lines announced that the Norwegian Epic will make its final deployment to the Caribbean during the upcoming 2014-2015 season. The Freestyle Cruising ship carrying 4,100 passengers will thereafter be based permanently in Europe.
On our recent cruise through the western Mediterranean in late August, my wife and I enjoyed sailing on the Epic, which we found spacious and comfortable. She is the largest ship in Norwegian’s fleet at 155,873 gross tons and 1,081 feet in length, spanning 19 decks of Freestyle cruising. Our cabin on the 12th deck, whether using the elevators or stairs (our favorite way of getting around), provided quick access to the entire ship.
We sailed at sunset and from the 19th “Posh Deck” watched the enchanting city of Barcelona fade into the horizon. For anyone traveling to the Mediterranean, the cuisine and sights of Barcelona are off the charts. As we sat and watched the coastline disappear, families frolicked at the Aqua Park while others danced nearby to a great live band. The send-off by Norwegian’s crew was outstanding, and they made sure everyone was having a great time.
The Coolest Ride
The Epic is not only the coolest ride but, remarkably, we never felt overwhelmed by our fellow passengers. Its Aqua Park is amidships, and there is a rappelling wall, two three-lane bowling alleys, 17 dining options and 18 bars and lounges to enjoy. The company’s claim of Freestyle Dining is backed up by the availability of food whenever you decide it’s time to eat. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s whenever – 24/7.
The iconic Blue Man Group is in the Epic Theater and you can rock to the Legends in Concert either loud and electrified or acoustically and unplugged. There are also musicians constantly playing around dinner time until late evening near the bars on decks 6 and 7. The flamenco guitarist on our cruise was captivating and just plain awesome.
And for all you workout fanatics, facilities are uncluttered and the equipment ultra-clean and modern. The Mandarin Spa, next to the gym, always seemed to be busy with people checking in for massages, facials, hydrotherapy and thermal treatments.
“A Smile on Their Faces”
Our Norwegian Epic experience was filled with excursions, dinners and entertainment. But what really impressed us was that the officers and crew, who were amazingly friendly and accommodating, always had a smile on their faces and did absolutely everything possible to make our voyage memorable.
The Epic’s August 31 to September 7th voyage from Barcelona and back was mastered by Captain Sverre Sovdsnes. My wife and I and our traveling companions had the pleasure of dining with him and Ms. Jane Valdez, Jovo Sekulovic, Hotel Director’s secretary, at Cagney’s Steak House. The food was great, and the captain is a consummate professional.
Having interviewed Norwegian Cruise Lines’ CEO, Kevin Sheehan, for the January-February 2014 edition, a nice tribute to him is that the Irish pub on the Epic is named O’Sheehan’s. A special thanks to Vanessa Picariello, Manager of Public Relations & Events, as well.
The Norwegian Epic will make its final voyages in the Caribbean this season and, for those who enjoy cruising, this is a world-class ship. It is a ship you don’t want to miss sailing on. – MarEx
Tony Munoz is Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of The Maritime Executive.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.