Sarah Hedley Hymers hops aboard the Norwegian Epic and finds world-class theatre and an exceptionally cool ice bar
Key selling points for cruise agents:
- Specially designed Studio Staterooms for solo travellers
- Luxury accommodation within The Haven by Norwegian
- World-class theatre productions – ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is a must-see
- 30+ restaurants, cafes, lounges, bars and clubs
- Circus-style big top Spiegel Tent restaurant with nightly acrobatic shows
- An ice bar with glasses, seats and bar made entirely from ice
- The only bowl-style water slide at sea
- 37-foot climbing wall
- Large well-equipped Pulse Fitness Centre with sea views and Mandara Spa
- Kids’ clubs and facilities, including a pool and a bar for teens
H2O Spice adults-only ‘beach club’
Overview: Picture yourself setting sail in the adults-only open-air Spice H2O bar as the sun sets, peach and orange hues soaking dusk skies. As the port skyline vanishes into sea, you raise a toast to a day well spent – perhaps lounging by the pool, enjoying the thermal spa, or exploring ashore, sampling local delights in atmospheric villages on one of the many available excursions. After sundowners, a refreshing tipple in the ice bar revives you before dinner, which can be as elegant or casual as you like. After a satisfying feast, the good times roll watching a world-class production at the theatre. ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is a standout triumph, as good as any West End musical.
Built in 2010 and refurbished in 2015, Norwegian Epic is a family-friendly floating resort loaded with entertainment for all ages, befitting a big-scale American-owned cruise line.
In addition to the theatre, there’s the Beatles-themed Cavern Club, a comedy club and the big top-style Spiegel Tent serving dinner with a show
The mammoth 329-metre-long, 52-metre-wide ship accommodates up to 4,100 passengers with 1,724 crew, with cabin categories for luxury, lone and budget travellers.
Cabins: For luxury, book The Haven by Norwegian, an exclusive enclave, more recently refurbished than the rest of the ship in 2020, and accessible only to Haven key card holders. The Haven Deluxe Owner’s Suite with balcony is the largest at 79 square metres. The rest range from 29 to 46 square metres; all have contemporary neutral interiors and balconies, and the Family Villas have two bedrooms.
Haven private pool
Norwegian Epic’s Studios were designed for solo travellers but are proving popular with lone grandparents within multi-generational family parties who want their own space.
Windowless, and just nine square metres, with ultra-modern white interiors and colourful accessories, the Studios have a Sixties space-age aesthetic
Elsewhere, the staterooms feature more traditional décor with beige walls, polished mahogany fittings and gem-coloured throws and scatter cushions. Categorised as Interior, Balcony and Club Balcony Suite, sizes range from 11 to 33 square metres, accommodating two to four guests.
Food and Drink: With seven complimentary dining options, eight speciality restaurants and eateries (charging a supplementary fee), and 15 bars, lounges and clubs, plus a restaurant and lounge for Haven guests, and a lounge for Studio guests, the choice is overwhelming. Speciality restaurants, offering premium dining, range from Japanese and Brazilian to French and Italian.
The Manhattan Room, with tables arranged around a central polished wood dancefloor, is loaded with New York high-society, big-ship glamour – and it’s complimentary. For a supplement, Cagney’s Steakhouse offers more exclusive limited seating with similar vibes and choice cuts.
Facilities: How about a race up the climbing wall, or a whizz down the 200-foot Epic Plunge water slide? It’s the only bowl slide at sea. Aqua Park kids’ pool is the place for little ones to splash about, while Splash Academy offers creative play youth programmes.
Entourage Teen Centre, comprising a dry bar and nightclub, provides a grown-up escape for cool kids
With more than 30 restaurants, cafes and lounges, it’s wise to spend time Pulse Fitness Centre, an impressive and spacious gym with sea views and an exercise studio. Next door, Mandara Spa is the place to be pampered.
Skyy Vodka Ice Bar
Wow Factor: Skyy Vodka Ice Bar, inspired by the original ice hotels in Scandinavia, is a frozen chamber where the bar, seats and glasses are made entirely of ice. Guests are provided with glamorous metallic padded coats in pink, green and gold before entry, so you don’t need to pack for the Arctic.
For more information visit, www.ncl.com