The most talked-about cabins on board Norwegian Epic are ironically the smallest – the 128 single Studio staterooms which have a mere 100 square-feet of living space – less than half the size of a regular balcony cabin.
I must say I prefer to have a sea view, but these cabins are proving popular among single passengers, and together with the luxury suites are among the first to sell out.
Tucked away along corridors running the length of decks 11 and 12, the studios each have a full-sized bed, a wall of storage space including a flat-screen TV and hand-basin; a shower cubicle and – unlike the standard balcony cabins, a lavatory cubicle with solid walls.
They have been designed by Priestmangoode, a UK-based consultancy whose track record includes luxury aircraft interiors, high-speed trains and budget hotels.
The lighting can be adjusted to suit the mood of the occupant, the furnishings are in a metallic white which reflects light and gives the impression of more space, and there’s a large round window which looks out into the corridor but is fitted with one-way glass for privacy.
Studio passengers have access to the two deck-high Studio Lounge (above), where they can pick up coffee and a croissant at breakfast, or relax with a drink in the evening.
Many of the cabins are interconnecting, so friends could travel together while still maintaining privacy.
At the other end of the scale in size and luxury are the 60 suites in a private complex in that bulge over the bridge at the front of the ship.
Here the designers have created a first class section in all but name – there’s private key-card access, exclusive check-in and concierge service, and a lounge, bar, restaurant and sundecks all off-limits to other passengers.
Best of all is the breathtaking central garden and pool area, reminiscent of the courtyard in an elegant Arabian palace. Sadly, it was not quite complete when I toured yesterday, so although I was eventually given permission to photograph the interiors, there was a “no pictures” rule outside.
The family suites have two bedrooms and a sitting room, and the corner baths and showers share spectacular sea views.