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Norwegian, Food And Andy Stuart

Some of us like hot toast. Hot enough to melt better. It happens at home. It rarely, if ever, happens on a cruise ship. The only time we’ve ever experienced it, or at least the closest it has come to being reality, is on the Norwegian Epic and the reason was simple. We were having breakfast at O’Sheehan’s, a mid-ship eatery with mostly down-home food, and the toaster was right there. We couldn’t touch it, but we could see it and the toast was hot enough.

Norwegian is having food issues right now. Good and bad.

Andy Stuart, a bright guy who is the company’s new president, has been dealing with Andy Stuartseveral. It started with a charge for room service delivery. That was followed by a ban on taking food back to your cabin. Then came removing the $15 cover charge on Asian eateries. And finally, establishing a new sushi menu with a la carte pricing.

You might say Stuart’s plate has been full.

When passengers complained, as they did about the room service charge, he modified it by not charging for continental breakfast and coffee. When they complained about being ordered not to take food to their rooms, he dropped the regulation. He found that passengers loved not paying $15 for Asian dining when the numbers jumped to 250 customers per night in the restaurants. He found that a la carte sushi was not only palatable, but popular.

Stuart is upgrading the room-service menu, to justify the cost and encourage more passengers to use it. He’s in the process of upgrading food in the buffet with better options, on the theory that every passenger visits the buffet at least once, so it’s critical to have them leave with a good taste, so to speak.

It’s reasonable to assume that O’Sheehan’s will have a name change, since the quickly departed Kevin O’Sheehan was Stuart’s predecessor.

But about the toast, Andy…

In the news…

• MERS outbreak triggers Royal Caribbean cancelations in South Korea ports
• Viking plans maiden North American call for New York in October 2016
• Cruises to nowhere no longer allowed from U.S. ports (Cruise Critic)

Today at portsandbows.com: MSC's Seaside Class ship going to Miami

Costa Deliziosa
7 nights
October 18, 2015
Venice (return): Bari, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Norwegian's Irish Pub of the Sea


Among the innovations when the Norwegian Epic arrived in 2010 was an Irish-style pub called O'Sheehan's. If it was a test for inclusion on future ships, O'Sheehan's passed with flying colors. It will be replicated when the Breakaway arrives in May, and it will surprise us if it's not on the Getaway when that new ship arrives next year.

Anybody who has sailed on the Epic knows why.

Despite the fact that Norwegian's CEO happens to be named Sheehan (Kevin), this is a venue that's understated. It tends to get lost in the glare of the specialty restaurants and fancy bars and lounges. There are no press releases about O'Sheehan's — maybe the boss thinks that would be self-serving. It's as much a best-kept secret as a restaurant can be given that it's located in the heart of the ship.

Its proper name is O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar and Grill, and it's a neighborhood passengers can access 24/7, the only place to eat at any time on the Epic outside of your stateroom. Spread across both sides of the ship, it accommodates up to 180 guests.

The modestly sized menu is traditional…bacon and eggs, chicken pot pie, fish and chips, etc. If you're looking for comfort food on the Epic, O'Sheehan's is the place. If you're looking for toast that's hot, as rare as that is on cruise ships, you'll find it at 

O'Sheehan's. The atmosphere is comfortable, like a pub should be, with an eclectic collection of memorabilia from all walks of life decorating its walls — sports cards and pictures, photos of movie stars and politicians, documents and artifacts from ships.

The Epic was Norwegian's first new ship since 2007 and there was only one thing wrong in having O'Sheehan's make its debut then.

It should have happened three years earlier on the Gem, because that's what it is.

Holland America Ryndam
16 nights
March 31, 2013
Tampa, Ponta Delgada, Cadiz, Motril, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $43

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