Norwegian Epic Review
A huge ship that is great for families and does a particularly good job catering to the solo traveler.
Spa & Fitness
The Mandara Spa features more than 20 treatment rooms. All of them have a massage bed, a sink, and dozens of different lotions. There are also two couple’s villas with outdoor whirlpools. Six treatment rooms have balconies with sun chairs for relaxation before or after treatments.
Mandara Spa features more than 50 treatments from Botox to acupuncture to Thai herbal poultice massages. Mandara also offers special kids treatments, like an Acne Attack Facial, as well as treatments for couples. Prices range from $79 to $300 or more.
The salon in the spa features hair, nail, waxing, and tooth-whitening services from $19 for a chin waxing to $149 for the tooth whitening.
The Hydrotherapy Courtyard has one large pool, a whirlpool, thermal benches, and a balcony looking out the rear of the vessel. Day passes are available on port days only for $30 and cruise passes for $119.
The fitness center features 37 treadmills and 18 cross-trainers, as well as weight equipment, free weights, and several aerobic studios and stretching areas.
Different classes are available throughout the week, most complimentary. Some, like boot camp or Zumba classes, have a service charge of $12, $20 or $69. Other classes include Pilates, yoga, and spinning. Nutritional consultations and metabolism testing is also available.
According to Norwegian, the Epic’s rock climbing wall area includes the only U.S.-rated climbing wall afloat, and it also features the only rappelling wall at sea. There are races to reach the little bells on top, the shorter route is easier, the longer one more difficult.
Bowling / Ping Pong
Both Bliss Ultra Lounge and O’Sheehan’s have bowling alleys — a Norwegian Cruise Line signature (the line remains the only one with bowling alleys on its ships). There are two lanes at Bliss and three at O’Sheehan’s. Bowling balls and shoes are provided on-site.
On deck 15, in the passages running underneath Spice H2O, are several ping pong tables. It’s not a lot of space, but enough to get a good game going.
Deck 17 is where outdoor sports are played, at a basketball court that doubles as a soccer field. The entire area is contained within a huge net so no balls can be lost. Next to the stairs is the Spider Web, a climbing web, and Vertical Reality, a bungee catapult. Unfortunately, these were closed while we were on the ship.
Shuffleboard and Jogging Track
Both a shuffleboard and jogging track are on deck seven (port and starboard, respectively). Norwegian Epic does not have a promenade that goes around the whole ship, so the two parts are separated. There are three shuffleboard courts on the port side, and a giant chess/checkers board. The jogging track on starboard requires 3.8 laps to equal a mile.
Pool / Darts
Pool tables and dart boards are in Bliss and O’Sheehan’s. They are free-of-charge and you can play as long as you want.
The Norwegian Epic has a large main pool area in the middle of the ship that includes an aqua park with multiple slides. There also is a smaller pool at the back of the ship. Sun decks surround both pool areas, as well as on deck 16.
The biggest public sun decks on the Epic are decks 15 and 16 (forward), and deck 19 (aft), with hundreds of sun chairs. There’s also the Courtyard sun deck, reserved for Norwegian’s suite and Villa passengers. The Posh sun deck and Beach Bar are exclusive to Norwegian’s Silver members. There also is a “Freestyle” sunning area where passengers can go topless if they like.
All of these areas are crowded nearly all the time, but sea days are the worst. To try and combat bickering, Norwegian has a “no sun lounger reservation” policy, but it’s still tough to find a seat.
The main pool area is called Aqua Park, which features two large pools, with fountains, and five hot tubs. Near the pool area is Waves, the pool’s bar, and the Great Outdoors dining area, as well as a stage and dance floor. The water in the pools is heated to about 80 degrees, making it just right for a swim. There are a lot of sun chairs, but on sea days the area is completely swarming with passengers. Chairs are informally reserved with towels from as early as 7 am, despite requests from Norwegian to knock it off.
The Aqua Park includes a huge, multi-channel water slide, including the “Epic Plunge,” which feeds into into something resembling a toilet bowl. All in good taste, of course, and lots of fun.
Spice H2O is supposed to be an adults-only area from 7 am to 8 pm, but this rule is not always followed. It’s made up of one large pool and two hot tubs. The bar offers cocktails, beer, and wine, as well as breakfast and lunch on sea days.
The spa offers a third pool option, although not outside. If you need to retreat from the crowds, this is the place to go.
The kids’ Aqua Park, with several little slides, is located behind the main water slide area.
Sun Decks & Open Areas
Around the Aqua Park are hundreds of sun chairs, but not nearly enough to accommodate every passengers who wants one on a sea day.
Deck 16 is not very large to begin with and the sun chairs are really crammed in there. There is not much space to navigate, but it's sufficient for sun bathing and getting drinks.
Spice H2O has several terraces with sun chairs and tables with sunshades.
Deck 17 & 18
The public sun deck on deck 17 (aft) is next to the sports complex, looking over Spice H2O. It's sunny, of course, but never very quiet.
The sun deck on deck 18 looks over the Great Outdoors and the pool area. It is located forward. The very end of this area is closed to public.
Courtyard Sun Deck
This area can only be accessed by Suite and Villa passengers.
Posh Beach Club
The adults-only sun deck with Freestyle (topless) area is for Silver members only.
Lounges & Public Spaces
The Epic has quite a few lounges and other places to relax and grab a drink. Among them is O’Sheehan’s, billed as the first Irish pub at sea (it takes its name from the line’s most recent CEO, Kevin Sheehan). Other than that, there’s the Humidor Cigar Lounge for smokers, and the Svedka Ice Bar, which is actually made of ice and serves cool vodka drinks (virgin for kids).
Humidor Cigar Lounge / Internet Cafe
This is one of the few smoking areas within the ship. It’s designed like an old Cuban bar with dark leather seats and sofas, surrounded by pictures of big Hollywood stars from the ‘30s to the ’60s, and its often in use. On our cruise, the population of 5,000-plus passengers turned out to contain quite a few smokers, and a lot of them came to this lounge for a nicotine fix. Norwegian installed two very loud air purifiers to accommodate the air quality. Drinks are available from the nearby Shaker’s or Maltings bars.
The Internet Cafe is located by Clicks Photo gallery on deck five. The area is broken up into several cubicles with individual desktops. It is not a very comfortable environment, so nobody stays here too long. WiFi is available throughout the ship.
Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar
Maltings offers a long list of draft (14 and 22 oz) and bottled beers, along with whiskeys from Scotland, Ireland, USA, and Canada. Prices range from $4.25 for a Coors Light, to $17 for a Johnny Walker Blue Label. Additionally, the menu has martinis, spirits, wines, and soft drinks.
Fat Cats Jazz Club / Headliners
At night, Fat Cats features live jazz and blues music. The decor is simple and the space is filled with chairs and small tables to fit as many people as possible. All the drinks come from the nearby Cascade Bar.
Headliners is home to the comedy shows, as well as Howl At the Moon, where dueling piano players take requests from the audience. It has its own bar in one corner, and offers the same drink menu as the rest of the ship. During the day, you can frequently catch a game of bingo here.
Atrium Cafe / Svedka Ice Bar
The Atrium Cafe is a Starbucks-like venue where you can get espresso, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and various cakes. The whole area has reddish seats like you might find in a European café – if not for the gigantic, two story high screen.
The Svedka Ice Bar is touted as the first bar actually made of ice that’s cruising the seas. There’s a $20 cover charge for it, but two drinks are included in the charge. Before entering, you’re presented with a fake fur hooded poncho so you don’t freeze (although even with this, it’s still chilly). Once inside, most everything is constructed of ice: the bar, the walls, even the glasses. Ice statues of a bear and a viking watch over you while you drink and shiver. If you want a seat, the Svenda Ice Bar was kind enough to supply fake fur drapings for the ice furniture.
Concierge Floor / Club Floor
The Studio Lounge is reserved for passengers who booked a studio on the Epic. Its design is similar to the Studio cabins: all whites and bright blues, as well as the recessed, multicolored lights. It features a bar, a coffee machine, and a vending machine. You can get a little breakfast here, too. One crew member is responsible for all the singles staying in the area, and there’s a “single mingle” get-together every night at 6 pm.
Another club floor is the Epic Club area, where suite and villa passengers find a lounge, two restaurants, a Hydrotherapy Courtyard & Thermal area, and a fitness center.
The conference rooms were used as a storage room, and not accessible.
On the way to the Humidor, just behind Maltings, is the library. Because of the leather seats and dark wood tables, it actually looks like it is part of Maltings. There are two shelves full with books and different board games.
Shows and Entertainment
One of the strengths of the Norwegian Epic is its entertainment, which is more diverse and elaborate than what is found on almost any other ship.
The biggest and most popular show on Norwegian Epic is definitely the Blue Man Group, which plays several times a week in the ship’s main theater. This isn’t the only big, Vegas-y acts, though. A Legends in Concert show, with impersonations of such celebrity singers as Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Tina Turner, also is aboard the Epic and plays multiple times.
In addition, the ship’s Headliners club has two rotating acts: Performances by a Second City comedy troupe and performances by Howl at the Moon, the branded dueling piano show found on land. With the latter, two side-by-side piano players will play whatever you ask them to perform, provided its a widely popular song from the 60’s or later.
Another show option is Cirque Dreams & Dinner, at the Spiegel Tent, which offers a Cirque du Soleil-like dinner theater experience. All tickets, except the Spiegel Tent dinner, are complimentary and you can book all shows at the box office, located on deck six in front of the Epic Theater.
The Epic’s Casino, with its Las Vegas-style ambiance, is Norwegian’s largest. It offers poker, black jack, roulette, craps and hundreds of slot machines. There’s something for everyone. For beginners, the casino also offers gaming lessons.
There are hundreds of slot machines in the Casino. Epic’s Casino offers blackjack and a bunch of different poker games. There are roulette and craps tables. The bar provides gamers with drinks.
There are two huge screens on Norwegian Epic, one in the Atrium and one at Spice H2O. During the day, Norwegian plays some BBC or History Channel documentaries on these screens, and on some days there are even movies.
The video game arcade contains a mix of classic, older video games and newer games such as Rock Star to balance out the selection.
Lectures & Classes
The spa and fitness center offer complimentary lessons on health and fitness.
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