En suite that’s not so sweet

//En suite that’s not so sweet

Why has Norwegian Epic been described as the most eagerly-anticipated new cruise ship of 2010?
For one thing, it’s the only vessel being launched this year which has been built to a completely new design, rather than being a variation on an earlier plan. P&O’s Azura is similar to Ventura; Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will almost (but not quite) be identical to Queen Victoria; Celebrity Eclipse was the third of five ships built to the same design, and Allure of the Seas will be a twin for Oasis.
But there are lots of other reasons which make Epic special – from the dazzling array of entertainment, through a veritable high street of restaurants and bars, to the humble issue of bathrooms.
It’s going to take a while for me to get round all the food and drink options. I’ll give it my best shot and I’ll report back later, provided I don’t explode like Monty Python’s Monsieur Creosote after just one last “waffer-thin mint.”
In the meantime, a few words about the cabins and the infamous bathrooms – or rather the lack of them.
Standard balcony cabins like mine have a very wavy wall, designed so that adjoining rooms interlock and give maximum space for the bed and rather less for the sitting and wardrobe area.
There is plenty or storage space, with a double wardrobe and three drawers. No hanging space for long dresses, however, although a resourceful woman would probably just remove the lower rail from the full-height side.
There’s a couple of shallow cupboards under the narrow dressing table area, and two spacious drawers under the sofa, which also has the life-jackets tucked away behind its cushions. Which will be confusing for those, like me, who thought they would be in the wardrobe, as indicated by the little green sign on the door.
A flat-screen TV, mini-bar fridge, hair-dryer, safe and all-important tea and coffee-making facilities complete the furnishings and fittings. Outside, the glass-walled balcony accommodates two chairs and a foot-square table; no room for sun loungers.
The walls are a plain beige, the ‘woodwork’ is a dark veneer effect, and the carpet looks like a wave-scrubbed sandy beach. The only decoration consists of five glass panels with skeletal leaves sandwiched inside.
And the bathroom? Well there isn’t one. On one side of the cabin door is a shower cubicle with a frosted glass screen. On the other is a similar space with a similar screen, and behind it is the lavatory. A handbasin and soap dispenser and a mirrored cabinet are out in the cabin at the end of the bed.
A curtain, added to the design as an afterthought, does little to improve privacy, and a number of people I have spoken to say they would have to banish their partners from the cabin at appropriate times – which might prove somewhat inconvenient.
Others have remarked on the fact that the floor at the cabin entrance inevitably gets wet when you step out after a shower – a manageable problem when there’s just one person in the room, but a bigger issue for couples and families.
It’s a bold step for NCL to have taken – no other cruise line that I’m aware of has dared tinker with the hallowed concept of en suite facilities. I suspect that the majority of passengers will shrug and shower, unfazed, though for a minority it might just be a reason not to choose Epic.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:25+00:00 22 June 2010|Cruise Ships|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. DAVY HAZELTON 23 June 2010 at 2:03 am - Reply

    “For one thing, it’s the only vessel being launched this year which has been built to a completely new design, rather than being a variation on an earlier plan.”
    The Cruise Expert neglects to mention the new Oceania Marina, a much anticipated new design launching later this year.

  2. John Honeywell 23 June 2010 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Oceania Marina is a new design, but its launch has been delayed and will not now be until January 2011

  3. chris 23 June 2010 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Hey John,
    I like your writing style and look forward to more of your reviews on Epic. We’ve cruised with Norwegian twice to Bermuda and loved it!

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