First impressions of the Norwegian Epic, from its Miami inaugural cruise

Boarded the Norwegian Epic yesterday morning and have been aboard for about 24 hours. Here are some first impressions:

The decor of the ship of lovely. Very tasteful throughout.

As advertised, there are tons of bars (21 in fact) and restaurants and all seem very popular. They serve sushi, steaks, teppanyaki, Chinese noodles, Irish  fare (O”Sheehan’s Pub is named for the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line), Italian and even Churrascaria (Brazilian/Portuguese meats). The only thing lacking is an out-and-out Mexican restaurant, but I am sure you can get that in the Lido.

We had a fabulous press lunch yesterday in Cagney’s Steak House, one of the premier specialty restaurants ($25 add-on) and the chopped salad and filet mignon were excellent, as expected.  In the evening, we attended the new Cirque Dreams & Dinner show. The food was ordinary but the show was top-notch with a great series of acts…if you have watched other Cirque shows, you know there is often a lot of drivel between the acts and this was no exception. The whiny, high voice of the leading character was downright annoying…but the acts more than made up for that.

This ship can carry 4,000 passengers and definitely appeals to children. So, I can envisualize a cruise with maybe 300 children aboard. So I am amazed that the outdoor pool facilities are so, so limited. There is an aqua area with lots of splashy stuff and two aqua-tubes (sure to be a big hit), but very little actual swimming space. And, the so called “main pool” is in an adult area and is thumbnail size. It is sure to be invaded by kids looking for more places to swim. There are several hot tubs and the kids seem to fill those up, too. I have to go out this afternoon and take another look at those limited swimming areas. There is very little shade anywhere on the open decks.

Our cabin is a typical balcony cabin featuring those new wavy walls. I really don’t care about the waves one way or another, but I can tell you that this cabin is too small for two people. If one is sitting down at the dressing table to put on makeup or dry hair, the other person cannot walk through.

Heading off for lunch now. We have a group interview with the Blue Man Group this afternoon and get to see their show this evening. I am really looking forward to that.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.


4 Responses to First impressions of the Norwegian Epic, from its Miami inaugural cruise

  1. linda feiges July 20, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    I have heard the sink in the cabin is across from the bathroom, and the bathroom is very small. How is the food ( not the extra charge ) and how are the shows? Is there any daily activities going on other than sports ? We are booked for a balcony in the fall.

    • Cynthia July 20, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      The bathrooms are rather unique…the shower and toilet are in separate areas and the sink is apart for them. Certainly better when two people are trying to get ready at the sane time.

      Food was great on the ship. Most of the restaurants do not charge extra, only a few, so you will have plenty of choices.

      The entertainment is fabulous, particularly Cirque and Blue Man Group. Be sure to make you reservations online for these shows before you go. Cirque has an extra charge (because dinner is included), but the rest are free.

    • Cynthia July 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

      I did not find the bathroom to be that bad. The fact that the sink, shower and WC are in three different places makes it easier for two people to get ready at the same time. However, the toilet door is not very wide and very heavy people might have trouble getting in and out of it.

      The shows are phenomenal. With Blue Man Group, the Cirque du Soliel dinner show, dueling pianos, a comedy club, the Legends of Las Vegas show, a murder mystery lunch…etc…this ship without a doubt has the best entertainment at sea and most of it, including Blue Man Group, is free.

      Yes, they offer the usual run of activities, I am sure but not so much of that was going on during the three-day inaugural.

  2. gerald parkin July 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    The charge of $12.95 to watch a movie is ridiculous, and the overpriced internet is the worst I have ever encountered on a ship. The separate glass doored toilet and shower might look nice, but it can certainly rattle when the waves get up a bit and keep you awake all night. I totally agree with the pool area, where is it. Only highlight of the cruise for me was the Blue Man Group.

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