NCL is reinventing the Freestyle concept to a whole new level and taking it a notch more upscale too when its newest ship, Norwegian Epic is launched next month. She... More info
NCL is reinventing the Freestyle concept to a whole new level and taking it a notch more upscale too when its newest ship, Norwegian Epic is launched next month. She is going to be one-of-a-kind. Most new ships are simply sister ships (copies) of existing vessels. While interiors are slightly different, one sees most of the same.
Norwegian Epic will be different. Highlights:
- First of their kind “studio” staterooms will help alleviate single supplement.
- boxy-looking ship profile with luxury villa suites set on top of the ship overlooking the bow.
- The option of 20 dining venues (many with a surcharge)
- 20 bars & lounges, (even an ice-bar where one wears a Russian fur, goes into a sub-zero room and enjoys a vodka drink of choice in an iced cup)
The Gay Cruise Innovator
NCL has been and is the cruise industry innovator of firsts, including many things that especially appeal to gay passengers. NCL has welcomed and respected its Gay community travelers for many years long before its main competitors Royal Caribbean and Carnival.
- Innovator of the now-expected “Friends of Dorothy” get-togethers for GLBT travelers!
- Introduced the largest ship in the World in 1980,
- First company to produce full Broadway musicals at sea
- Created Freestyle Cruising and dining (now copied by almost all lines)
- NCL has dedicated 2 full-pages to the GLBT community in its Welcome Aboard “Freestyle” books found in each stateroom throughout the fleet.
- Invited gay icon, Rosie O’Donnell, to be godmother of the magnificent Norwegian Pearl in 2005. You may remember, Rosie chartered many NCL ships under her R’ Family Vacations venture with her former-partner.
The Impressive Facts
- 153,000 tons
- 1,080 feet long
- 153 feet wide
- Carries 4,228 passengers
- Crew of 1690!
The decor of all staterooms is more attractive and palatable than the last fleet of NCL ships; Epic is definitely going upscale.
First of its kind “studio” stateroom: The Epichas a first of its kind single stateroom called the “studio”. This 99 square foot cabin is sold to single travelers and has a private lounge for single travelers to enjoy each others company. The design is unique with mood lighting, an innovative porthole into the corridor for more light, pull-down shades for privacy, and even padded walls. It looks quite space ship like and will be a first for single travelers to be able to avoid paying a high single rate…Go NCL!
Standard cabins are primarily balcony rooms called “New Wave Staterooms”. Each room has a curved figure in the design. The look is impressive with taller than usual ceilings. The bathroom is broken into two distinct areas with frosted glass walls for privacy. One side holds the toilet, the other the shower stall. The flooring around and between is wood; the sink is in the cabin itself. This innovative design creates 20% more living space.
Suites and penthouses are mostly housed in a private key access area called the Courtyard Villa. This enclave of suites has its own gym, restaurant, nightclub, shop, concierge, and gorgeous pool for those willing to pay for it. It is a ship-within-a-ship and one of the hottest most sought after type of accommodations in the entire cruise industry. I have stayed in this Courtyard Villa area on other NCL ships but on Epic the space goes to a whole new level.
Freestyle 21st Century. The most innovative cruise line has also updated Freestyle to more choices of options to do or not do. 20 dining options and many with a surcharge keep the venues capacity controlled and actually create a restaurant like atmosphere. The Freestyle “free” (included) dining choices will be many too so guests who do not want to pay extra won’t need to t worry.
Entertainment options will be unbelievable with the Blue Man Group, Las Vegas Legends In Concert, Second City Comedy Troupe, and a new Cirque Dreams dinner theatre with offers a dinner show with circus performances and lasts 110 minutes-this NEW venue comes with a $20 per person fee attached.
This unique ship will spend her first season sailing roundtrip out of Miami on 7-day junkets to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In the Spring of 2011, The Epic moves to Europe’s Gayest Mediterranean city, Barcelona, for a long season of 7-day Mediterranean Cruises.
Who will want to cruise on this ship? Anyone looking for innovation, excitement, and options. It is really going to be more like a Las Vegas resort floating at sea than a conventional cruise ship due to the options for dining and entertainment. I will be spending a week on her on September 4th and am excited to give a full first-hand report.
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