I have spent five weeks of my life on the Norwegian Epic and I will be going back soon for another week! I have done three one week cruises around the Mediterranean from Barcelona, and one twelve night transatlantic cruise onboard as well.
I first cruised on the Norwegian Epic in 2012, when I did a week in the Mediterranean. I found out about the studio cabins which NCL offer and I wanted to try them out. I was hooked from day one, and to be honest, no cruise or cruise line has compared since (I even controversially prefer her to the other NCL ships I’ve sailed on). Whilst NCL may not be as cheap as some of the other options available, I KNOW for a fact I have a great time on NCL Cruises so I would rather save my money and go on slightly less cruises and have an amazing time than have lots of cheaper holidays with other lines that I just don’t enjoy as much!
When the Epic was built, she was one of the largest cruise ships in the world, with only a few of the Royal Caribbean Oasis Class ships being bigger (hence why they remained on my bucket list for such a long time).
She has a capacity of 4,100 passengers and 1,724 crew, so is perhaps not for people who prefer the smaller and more intimate cruise ships, but for me, she is pure perfection! Some of the facilities she has are (again in my opinion) better than those on other NCL ships (I definitely prefer the layout of Bliss Lounge, Studio Lounge and Spice H2O compared to that on the Getaway and Breakaway), although I can see why the Breakaway class ships have an edge over her in other ways.
The food aboard the Norwegian Epic is one of my top reasons for preferring Norwegian Cruise Line Ships over other cruise lines. I’ve never had a problem with the food, quite the contrary to be honest. O’Sheehans serves food 24/7 which is perfect for night owls or (very) early risers, but there are plenty of other places to go for food and snacks throughout the day.
One of my favourite restaurants is Cagneys – which is a steakhouse. They have this on other NCL ships too, and I would highly recommend it, even though it is a speciality restaurant and there is a charge. You can however use any onboard credit for this, or opt for the feel at sea specialty restaurant credit if you want to.
My only “complaint” (if you can call it that) about the food is that I have had more than one issue with the slow service in the main dining rooms at dinner such as Taste. This appears to be the case on other NCL ships too though. I have however had to skip dessert on more than one occasion because I have a show reservation or something planned, so it’s worth bearing in mind. I was never entirely sure why, but someone one pointed out to me that on traditional cruise lines with set seatings, the kitchens are preparing all the starters at the same time, then the main courses and then the desserts etc. On Norwegian Cruise Line, as you can go to dinner at any time, I guess it is more difficult to run those kitchens.
I’ve never eaten in any of the main dining rooms for breakfast as I love the buffet far too much, but if you don’t want to hit the buffet, you can have a sit down breakfast or even order in room service. I’ve heard the breakfast at O’Sheehans is also really good, but I’m far too addicted to the French Toast at the buffet to have ever tried any other option.
One thing that the Norwegian Epic has that no other Norwegian Cruise Line ship has is a bowl water slide – the largest at sea. This is just one of the many things that for me puts her over and above other ships, including her sisters! Here’s a couple of pics, and of course a video from one of my many rides!
Something else which the Epic has which set it apart when it launched was the ice bar which at the time was the only ice bar at sea. There is a cover charge to do this, but it is definitely worth doing. There is also the option of non-alcoholic beverages inside if you’d rather, but I do wonder whether you might need the alcohol to keep you warm! I was pretty chilly when I did it, but I had many layers of clothes including jeans and my Uggs as I was doing the transatlantic and wasn’t sure of the weather.
Whatever you decided to do on the Epic, I am sure you will have an epic holiday. She is a great ship, with great, hard-working crew, and I know you will enjoy it!