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Imitation is, as we all know, the sincerest form of flattery. Norwegian Cruise Lines have just been paid the compliment of having their freestyle dining concept copied by Carnival, and they are now returning the favour by announcing that there will be a huge water park at the top of their new super-liner, Epic.
The gentlest of the Aqua Park’s water slides will plunge through the ship’s rock climbing wall. A second will twist and turn through three decks and the biggest, the Epic Plunge, is claimed to be the only tube slide at sea.
Passengers will ride inner tubes down a 200-foot long channel into a bowl where centrifugal forces will spin them high on the wall for several turns before they splash down.
The Aqua Park also includes two main pools with arching fountains which will be illuminated at night; five whirlpools; a paddling pool and a children’s Splash and Play Zone, which all sound like something that could be found on one of the Royal Caribbean Freedom-class ships.
The Epic claims to be scaling new heights with the first abseiling wall at sea, and a 33-foot high rock climbing wall. The sports deck incorporates a full-sized basketball court, volleyball, football, dodge ball, and a bungee trampoline.
Inside, the sports facilities include the first squash court at sea, and six tenpin bowling lanes in two separate venues, the Bliss night club and O’Sheehan’s sports bar.
Also announced today were details of the 14 restaurants on the 4,200-passenger ship. Among them will be Shanghai’s, NCL’s first Chinese, and a 115-seat Teppanyaki restaurant where up to 24 chefs will cook on grills in front of the diners.
Familiar favourites like Cagney’s steakhouse and the La Cucina Italian are included, and the Manhattan Room is a two-deck supper club complete with dance floor.
There’s one more Epic reveal to come in May, when we are promised more news on the ship’s entertainment and details of another restaurant. Then, at last, on May 20, Epic’s Caribbean cruises will be put on sale.