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Norwegian Epic
A memorable experience

An Epic cruise, with the biggest Aqua Park at sea, Blue Man Group, ice bar and even a circus!

by Brian Claridge

The vibrant tree lined boulevard of Las Ramblas never fails to amaze with its lively street musicians, artists, living statues, market stalls and pavement cafes.

I had flown into Barcelona with my wife and two sons aged 18 and 25, to join Norwegian Epic for a 7 night Western Med cruise, calling at Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Marseille, Palma and back to Barcelona.

Our first impression of Epic was its gargantuan size - 1081 ft long with 19 decks, she weighs a jaw-dropping 155,873 tonnes and with capacity for up to 5,000 passengers, she’s more like a floating city than a cruise ship.

Accomodation ranges from deluxe owner’s suites to staterooms, as well as studios for solo travellers; whilst hidden away at the top of the ship is The Haven, an exclusive enclave of luxury suites, villas and penthouses reserved for a privileged few.

Our ‘New Wave’ balcony staterooms were compact with bed, sofa, flatscreen TV, balcony and an unusual bathroom design. The shower and toilet each have their own sliding glass door and the basin is housed further in the room, which takes some getting used to!

After the customary lifeboat drill, we joined the Sailaway Party at Spice H20, a lively bar at the back of the ship and with Barcelona fading into the distance, our holiday had begun.

With over 20 dining venues on Epic, including speciality restaurants, you are spoilt for choice. We particularly liked the flexibility of Freestyle Dining, where we could dine when and where we wanted with no formal dress code.

Our favourite restaurant was Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse, where succulent cuts of meats are brought to your table on large skewers by traditionally dressed “Gouchos.” You can eat as much as you want by displaying a Green for ‘Go’ or Red for ‘Stop’ card. “It’s like being a football ref!” said my son holding up a red card. Worth the cover charge.

We also enjoyed Cirque Dreams & Dinner - the first circus at sea, which takes place inside a colourful tent. A 3-course dinner is served during a two-hour performance of acrobats, contortionists and tightrope-walkers and the cover charge includes circus and meal.

Entertainment on Epic is virtually non stop, including a Las Vegas style casino. One of our favourite shows was the world-famous Blue Man Group, which combines music, comedy, paint, strobe lights and an unforgettable finale. We also enjoyed Legends in Concerts with tribute artists performing the hits of Tom Jones, Adele and Tina Turner.

During a day at sea and with temperatures nudging 80 degrees F, we headed to the biggest Aqua Park at sea. My wife and I settled on sun loungers, while our sons rushed off to the waterslides and rock climbing wall. After a dip in the pool, Denise and I enjoyed a relaxing 75 minutes Full Body Massage in the largest Spa at sea. Later, we attended an art auction, visited the duty free shops, competed in ten-pin bowling, then met our sons for lunch at the Garden Café.

On our last day on Epic, we visited the ice bar. After donning thermal ponchos and gloves, we entered the frozen chamber (minus 8 C) with its atmospheric lighting and ice sculptures and were served colourful vodkas in sculpted ice glasses. A cover charge applies.

After disembarking at Barcelona, we took one final look at Epic before boarding our coach for the airport. It had been a memorable experience and give it top marks for innovative dining venues and entertainment – an Epic performance for sure!

Call 0845 201 8900 or visit: www.ncl.co.uk

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