Norwegian Epic: the good, the not-so-good and the ugly

//Norwegian Epic: the good, the not-so-good and the ugly

epicnjp1.jpgA new tower block arrived in New York for the first time today. Stood on end, cruise ship Norwegian Epic would be up there among the tallest skyscrapers in Manhattan, and only 200-ft short of the roof of the 1,250-ft Empire State Building.
It’s never going to stand on end, of course. It’s floating in the Hudson River. But because of its size and design, it had to lower five of its lifeboats into the water before it was brought alongside the pier.
My friend Scott, who is lucky enough to live in an apartment across the river in New Jersey, was on hand to film the ship’s arrival and his YouTube video is spectacular. Well worth a few moments of your time.
epicnjp3.jpgIt was disappointing to see that – just as in Southampton 10 days ago – there were no firetugs on hand to welcome the ship with fountains of water. Perhaps they’re being saved until the launch.
There are more of Scott’s great pictures of cruise ships in New York at his Flickr account.

The ship will be officially named by country singer Reba McEntire tomorrow, in a ceremony hosted by comedian Jeff Garlin, from TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm.
On Sunday it will be host to Macy’s 4th of July firework display, with stars including Justin Bieber and Enrique Iglesias, and then it will sail for Miami from where it will be sailing regular seven-day cruises to the Caribbean.
Will Epic – the most eagerly-anticipated cruise ship of the year – be a hit? We’ll know after it’s been sailing full of passengers for a few months.
Observers have expressed doubts about the innovative bathroom facilities in the cabins. Work is already in hand to change the taps and possibly the washbasins, but it would be more difficult – if not impossible – to redesign the shower and toilets if they don’t catch on.
My guess is that NCL’s gamble will pay off, just as it did about 10 years ago when they changed the face of cruising by doing away with set meal-times and introducing Freestyle dining. And we may well see other lines following the example of the 128 Studio cabins available for solo occupation without a crippling single supplement on the fare.
Epic doesn’t have anything with quite the wow factor of Central Park, the Boardwalk or the Royal Promenade of rival Oasis of the Seas and its soon-to-be launched sister Allure of the Seas.
But it has a vast selection of restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets, and in the Blue Man Group has one of the most innovative shows anywhere in the world – on land or sea.
Not everything’s perfect. The Ice Bar is fun, but it’s only a big freezer when all’s said and done. They need to sort out the flow of passenger traffic between the main public rooms at peak times, and which ever way you look at it, the ship is big and ugly.
I still don’t think there are enough sunloungers for the 4,100 passengers on a day at sea. But I’ve done the maths and worked out that there are 0.57 per passenger, compared to 0.56 on Oasis and Allure. So at least Royal Caribbean must agree with NCL in thinking that’s enough.
My quibbles are insignificant in the face of what has been achieved.
Epic by name and Epic by nature . . . the ship is sure to create waves when she returns from the Caribbean and starts sailing in the Mediterranean next year.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:24+00:00 1 July 2010|Cruise Ships|5 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. SYD MEAD 2 July 2010 at 12:41 am - Reply

    This ship is unbelievably ugly; a floating monstrosity that mocks the whole concept of ‘gracious maritime design. The only good thing about joining the 41OO passengers would be that once on board you couldn’t see it. This looks like a left over collection of bankrupt hotel projects all carelessly lumped together in a mind numbing pile of unrelated, ill-conceived bits and pieces.

  2. Anonymous 2 July 2010 at 8:59 am - Reply

    What an ugly ship!
    Oh for the days when QE2 ruled the waves!

  3. Drew 2 July 2010 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Why does everybody keep going on about how ugly the ship is. From the outside, a ship is a ship – they all do the same thing. It is the inside of a ship that makes it different from all the rest. And different on the inside Epic definitely is! I certainly would struggle to do everything and eat in each of the venues on a week long cruise aboard Epic, which means that people who enjoy their time on board will come back for more! that si a fantastic photo of Epic at night alongside the skyscraper buildings of New York – quite spectacular, thank you!

  4. Kevin 4 July 2010 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Norwegian Queues Line?
    Having been on the voyage from Southampton to NY, it’s not a bad ship … but it’s certainly not Epic, unless you include the queues. The disembarkation at NY was a disaster. We were scheduled to get off at 10.15 but ended up in queue for over three hours with thousands of other serious miffed customers. And queuing was the order of the day for every show. For the first show of the Blueman group, a load of security guards were brought down after it took an age to get us into the theatre and tempers were fraying. All in all, not an experience I intend to repeat.

  5. Jaime 8 July 2010 at 3:38 am - Reply

    I too was on the voyage from Southampton to NYC and I have to say it was the most amazing experience of my life to date. For those of you complaining about how she looks, she is a beautiful ship inside and out, far more superior looking rthan the ugly monstoricity called the Independence of the seas. Ok so some people had to queue, for crying out loud get over it, queueing is a way of life, as a Londoner it’s what we do best and we are used to it,have you ever seen a West End show…guess queue for it so why is a ship going to be any different.It takes time and effort to get people into a show and get them seated and perhaps if passengers arrived at the right time there wouldn’t be problems. For the whole of the voyage i only recall having to queue once and that was for ice cream. Instead of complaining people who did the voyage should take it for what it was…a emarkable once in a lifetime maiden voyage across the Atlantic, following the same route as the Titanic and i for one found it very poignant that the Captain took time to come and tell me we were passing over where she sank so i could pay respects. It was the trip of a lifetime and i met some fantastic new friends aboard…right down to several crew members. As for the disembarkation…it was the first time NCL had attempted it in the style it was done, the fact of the matter was we were delayed because of the NYC Port Authority who had to come aboard to make the checks that are required by law so NCL cannot be held to fault for that, i for one enjoyed the extra time aboard and so did many of the kids who thanks to crew…were enjoying some last minute pool time. I will indeed sail aboard her again when she leaved Miami next year and i for one cannot wait.

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