Reflections on an Epic Journey

Here’s what we like about spending time on the third-biggest cruise ship in the world, the one-of-a-kind Epic

It starts with the entertainment, which came as no surprise. Whether you think Norwegian is leading the way in cruise-ship entertainment or not, NCL has much to do with raising the bar. At times, it felt like Vegas, because that’s where you would expect to see such professional acts as Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert and a “Cirque” show.

The food. The choice was one thing. On a week-long cruise, you will have 21 meals…if you exercise control. There are 20 different dining experiences, so the decision would be which meal do you repeat? If there were restaurant line-ups anywhere, we didn’t see them, and we were fortunate to get a taste of most restaurants (we’ve always said we live to eat, not eat to live). Then there was the food quality. About the only thing we didn’t like were the slime pancakes. Maybe it was the name.

Toast at O’Sheehans, a pub that serves breakfast, because it’s hot enough to melt the butter, and try to find that anywhere else at a sit-down, cruise-ship restaurant.

Being on a ship where boredom is never an opportunity. The pools and the bars are standard fare on cruise ships, and that keeps the sun bathers and party-goers happy. The Epic seems to have something for everyone…like Wii bowling for kids and 10 pins for adults…Nickelodeon shows with Dora, Diego and friends by day, dueling pianos and jazz sessions by night.

The TV screen that NCL says is 300 inches wide, but doesn’t 25 feet sound better? It’s in Spice H2O, the adults-only area at the back of the ship, and offers a great outdoor setting for watching TV movies or sports. Kind of like being at a drive-in theater, but with digital HD.

The large balconies.

The captain. On a trip to the bridge, we were entertained by Staff Captain Pelle Fredriksson, because Captain Trygve Vorren prefers it that way. The master captain of the Epic is a little shy, and media sessions aren’t his favorite pastime, but he was informative, enlightening and entertaining on two occasions we had to talk to him at length.

The panoramic view over the bow from the Garden Cafe, which is indoors, a far superior place to watch the sail-away than the pool deck, which is outdoors.

Here’s what we didn’t like…

The sink. Some people think they’re too small; we just thought it was in the wrong place, restricting the traffic flow past the end of the bed. We did hear rumors the sinks are going to be changed, so if they’re larger they’ll have to be moved, too.

No promenade that allowed us to walk the perimeter of the ship in the great outdoors. That, too, is going to change.

That’s 8 out of 10. And like report cards and golf scores, anything that starts with an 8 is pretty good.

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