Norwegian Epic : My Secret Love.
Norwegian Epic is an interesting vessel, and I think it provides an interesting concept which other cruise lines may try to copy with upcoming vessels. Overshadowed by Royal Caribbean’s huge Oasis of the Seas & Allure of the Seas, Epic is actually an evolution in the concept of cruising. While its cabin design is not of interest to me they public areas and business aspects of this ship prove to be of interest.
Originally planned as two cruise ships, known as the F3 Project. These cruise ships were intended to show the refined ‘Freestyle’ cruising Concept, this being the third version of the initiative. Ordered at STX France, following an investment by Apollo Management into NCL, the second ship was cancelled and construction on EPIC (at the time 25% Complete) was suspended while changes were made to the design, this lead to the cost of EPIC skyrocketing to $1.2 billion. equivalent in cost to that of Oasis of the Seas. Unfortunately this means that EPIC will not yield the returns that Oasis and Allure do for Royal Caribbean. That does not mean the vessel is a mistake however.
This ship is a very interesting concept, the cabins follow a new design, said to make them more ergonomic and space efficient, while customer comments have been mixed, the split toilet/shower area is not something which I personally like, but is not enough to stop me from sailing on this ship.
With 20 bars and restaurants, my favourite feature is the use of the pool deck as a club by night, this is excellent, why it wasnt considered before is beyond me! It also has an Ice bar. One of only 14 in the world.
For families there are three water slides, pools, bowling alleys and much more. This ship does provide an interest read for onboard activities. It’s for this reason that I wish NCL would run a few shorter cruises perhaps 2/3 Nights, As this ship would make a great weekend escape. With all the bars and clubs to choose from I’m glad this ship is currently sailing the Med.
While this ship wont win any awards for its design, Jane Archer of the Telegraph said ‘Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Epic is the most unattractive ship to launch this year – but also the most exciting.’ Which is true, the design of the ship isnt great, but this is the third largest cruise ship in the world, larger than Cunard’s excellent Queen Mary 2. Now the QM2 is my favourite ship but Norwegian Epic is just so different it excites me.
Now economically, as I said before this ship cost the same as Oasis & Allure of the Seas, and the lack of any sister ships would appear that NCL aren’t truly happy with the finished product, but I believe this ship does serve a market very well-fitting in between Thomson and P&O/Royal Caribbean. If this ship was marketed towards a younger market, perhaps special ‘club’ cruises (like a posh club 18-30) NCL could further improve yield and margins. NCL are already running a Nickelodeon Cruise, so why not a 3 Night Cruise from Ibiza with some DJ’s? Partnered with a hotel. It is an idea which could work.
The ship has also starred in the US version of Undercover Boss, Which has led to changes in the onboard product available, unfortunately we in the UK cannot see it, So if anyone at NCL is reading, can we have a copy? (or a cruise?:D)
I hope to get a last-minute cruise some time in September with a few friends as this ship seems to fit the bill as a cool escape.
Have you been onboard? Let us know what you thought!
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