Cruising Notes from the Norwegian Epic

The right price…………………………………………………………$499
May 7, 2011:
11 nights Ship: Norwegian Epic
Miami to Barcelona (re-positioning cruise)
A real chance to see the ship bow to stern with only one stop in 11 days
Norwegian Cruise Lines 1-866-234-7350
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The thought of getting “slimed” — or even seeing somebody getting slimed — was so far from our radar that we thought there was no chance we’d even give the Nickelodeon slime show on the Norwegian Epic a second look.

As people much younger than us might say: “Like, ugh!”

Well, we went. Happy to be the slime-watchers and not slimees, we enjoyed watching the kids as much as the performers. Two families volunteer (presumably) to be on stage, knowing one of them will be covered with green yuck, and the Slime Guy who is the voice of reason (?) picks kids and adults from the audience for less messy roles. What’s amazing is how quickly the kids can answer questions about Nickelodeon stuff while adults are still trying to figure out the question.

The climax is messy but Slime Guy is entertaining, and fast on his feet, which is a good idea when there’s slime involved.

What’s slime? Ask kids. They’ll know.

* * *
This was a pre-Thanksgiving Day cruise so Dora and friends weren’t the only reason the Epic was carrying lots of kids. The tip-off was an embarkation, where line-ups were long to buy “soda packages” for unlimited soft drinks.

Asked one dad: “They charge for soda?”

First time on a cruise ship for that dad.

* * *
Trygve Vorren, Captain of the Epic, is like most people in the cruise business. He reads what the critics have to say about his still-new ship.

“Sometimes,” he says, “I think I am not on the same ship.”

* * *
The critics have their say in print and on the web. The passengers have theirs face-to-face with Norwegian. The complaint NCL officials hear most often is about the promenade.

That should be the non-promenade.

There is a jogging track, up one side of the ship (and back the same side), but no place for walkers to do any kind of 360.

“The next ship,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s Executive Vice-President for Global Sales and Passenger Services, “will have a promenade.”

Norwegian has two ships under construction, or about to be. The first arrives in 2012 and the second a year later. Both with promenades.

* * *
Bowling is available in three places on the Epic, with three genuine lanes for 10-pinners next to O’Sheehans Pub on one deck and adjacent to Bliss on another. In the event you’re planning an Epic cruise and you think bowling’s included, it’s not. The cost is $5 per person per game.

The third venue is on the big screen, where Wii bowling for up to 1,000-pinners is available. That’s free.

* * *
While the Epic’s capacity is listed at 4,100, according to Staff Captain Pelle Fredriksson, the actual capacity (including staff and maximum guests in staterooms) is “just over 6,900.”

* * *
The most elite part of this elite ship is called the Courtyard, the opulent 60 suites and villas that sit above the bridge. This is the cruise ship within the cruise ship, and residents pay up to $2,500 a week to be there and have private everything.

The one exception is the bar, the appropriately named Posh. It’s available to anybody on the Epic…who wants to pay $60 a day for the privilege.

* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

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