Review: NCL’s Norwegian Epic Knocks One Out of the Park!


Deck by Deck: World-class entertainment, special spaces and food fit for a kid!

Looking for kid-friendly vacations has become a bit easier. Especially when searching for cruises! Cruise lines are bending over backwards to cater to you and your family. Special deals and accommodations usually accompany a reservation.

Just recently Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) introduced the fun-packed, family-friendly Norwegian Epic which sails alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries every Saturday from Miami, FL through April 2011. The Eastern Caribbean stops include St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau, Bahamas. In the Western Caribbean, Norwegian Epic will visit Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan, Honduras.

But what kids really want to know is, “What’s on board for them?”

Well, the 4,100-passenger vessel is being billed as the world’s largest floating entertainment venue with stellar entertainment. Deck by deck, the Norwegian Epic is jam-packed with fun for all!

DECK 6: For the first time at sea, Blue Man Group performs with a fun mix of comedy, theatrics and paint.  The Blue Men create such a party atmosphere that they could easily be the sole reason to choose The Epic. Expect to laugh and interact with this wild bunch. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Man Group makes a mess of the auditorium. (Tip: Sit in either of the front two rows. This will increase your odds of receiving a splash of Blue Man paint).

In the only “big top”  at sea, Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner presents an interactive theatrical dining experience with music and acrobatics. It is really a one of a kind adventure. You will find it hard to both eat and watch the spectacles before your eyes. The stars will fly high, climb seats and cascade around the dinner theatre.

Norwegian Epic features two of their signature, industry-first bowling alleys at sea. There’s  O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill where the whole group can head on over to the lanes and hit some pins. There are also the three lanes at Bliss Ultra Lounge where during the day all ages are welcome. (Note: Bliss is on Deck 7).

DECK 15: Get splashed at Epic’s Aqua Park. Choose from three multi-story water slides. The first one is specifically designed for the more-timid crowd and zips through the rock-climbing wall. The second slide is for the slightly more adventurous, because it twists and turns down three stories. The most fun is the Epic Plunge. It is the only tube slide at sea that puts the blast of inner-tubing into the core of a bowl slide, with a thrilling 200-foot drop.

The Aqua Park also includes two main pools, five hot tubs, a wading pool and a kid’s pool that features sea-life sculptures, water sprays and a slide.

Little ones will have a ball with Nickelodeon at Sea™ offering Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming including character meet and greets, game shows (such as Slime-Time Live), and even dining (we had slime syrup on our pancakes for breakfast). One can expect to see Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob Square Pants parading around.

For the full-fledged teens, Entourage is designed like a lounge, but without the parental units. For the 13- to 17-year-old crowd, self-serve food and soda stations are abundant. During the day, it’s all about PlayStation® 3, air hockey, pinball, foosball, a video jukebox and nine large flat-screen televisions. In the evening, Entourage turns into a teen nightclub with a space for dancing.

DECK 17: Competitive at heart (and sea)? The Sports Complex has two decks to play on. Join a game of basketball court or dodge ball. Even the climbing wall is breathtaking. At 33-feet high and 64-feet wide, the extreme wall includes a water tube weaving right through the middle and the first-ever rappelling wall at sea.

There’s also a 24-foot tall enclosed climbing cage they call the Spider Web. Climbing will be easy and fun, especially if you’re racing with another cruise-goer.

In addition to fascinating entertainment, the Norwegian Epic encompasses various novelties including family-friendly accommodations.

DECK 14: They’ve created a special space just for tweens known as Recess. Kids can have a blast by enjoying age-appropriate and structured games. Fun, themed programs include safari, the high seas and space among others.

There’s even an interactive dance floor, Wii™ and PlayStation3 gaming areas and a private karaoke performance stage. Plus, the expanded hours let parents have time for themselves. (Mom – the on-board spa is to die for!)

What more could you ask for?

Freestyle Cruising is what NCL is about. So at anytime, day or night, you’ll find restaurants, buffets and cafés that aim to satisfy your palate. NCL also provides more choices of connecting staterooms than any other cruise line.

New Wave Stateroom

Many of the Family Balcony Staterooms come with two lower beds that convert to a queen, one upper bed and a sofa bed, to sleep four comfortably. As an added bonus, their family deck area is in close proximity to Recess and Entourage.

You can’t go wrong with the valuable entertainment and accommodations NCL’s Norwegian Epic has introduced to family travelers! Acts that one could only expect to see in NYC or Las Vegas are now at sea. Plus, the food is a culinary delight – even the finicky kids can appreciate.

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For more information on Norwegian Epic visit http://epic.ncl.com or call 888- NCL-CRUISE (625-2784).

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Amore & NCL