UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Continuing to offer Central Florida more travel options than ever before, 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic has arrived in Port Canaveral to begin her winter season. Sailing a series of Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings, the 155,000-ton Norwegian Cruise Line ship offers a truly unique Space Coast cruise option.
When Norwegian Epic debuted in 2010, the ship was met with mixed reviews. This is the one with the split bathrooms with a roomy shower on one side of a standard stateroom entry and a toilet on the other side, both enclosed in glass. The sink? At the foot of the bed. I liked the layout, others did not. Now forget I said that for a moment. That’s not the unique cruise option I am talking about. We’ll come back to that later.
Before arriving at Port Canaveral, Norwegian Epic went through extensive renovations via the fleetwide Norwegian Edge program. It’s more than a dry dock remodeling that brings new bedding and carpets, sort of like Carnival Funship 2.0 initiative or Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence program, you get the idea…or maybe not. This video explains:
- Exciting new entertainment venue, The Cavern Club, inspired by the famous Liverpool nightclub of the same name where The Beatles got their big break
- A complete makeover of La Cucina to create a more authentic Italian atmosphere
- Upgraded The Haven Courtyard, Lounge and Restaurant to introduce a more modern and clean design
- Upgraded spaces for the whole family including Entourage, Splash Academy and the new SplashGolf in the Kids’ Aqua Park
- New library and card room for guests to enjoy while on board
- Refreshed décor, including new furniture and flooring in several restaurants, bars and lounges to elevate the ambiance as you sip, savor and cheers
Impressive when the ship debuted in 2010; a truly innovative approach to entertainment. That focus continues today with two new Broadway shows as headliners: Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical.
Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical is the heart-warming, uplifting comedy adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and features a hit parade of dance floor favorites, including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Both of those entertainment provide a base entertainment experience that solidifies Norwegian Epic’s position as a unique cruise option …but Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, also sailing now from Port Canaveral has a Broadway show too. But there’s more.
Cirque Dreams and Dinner Get brings a one-of-a-kind theatrical dining experience for an additional charge that is well worth the price (Premium Seating: $39, Standard Seating: $29). It’s an entertainment extravaganza that includes world-class acrobats and aerialists, musicians and a touch of whimsy and a dash of audience participation. Enter an unforgettable world where spectacle and celebration are served up nightly – Cirque Dreams® and Dinner, created by Neil Goldberg. The higher charge for Premium seating brings us closer to the action at this exceptional theatrical dining experience. Be prepared to make new friends as you may sit with other people at your table.
Fans of dance will like Burn the Floor on board Norwegian Epic where an international championship cast show off their best ballroom dance moves with plenty of European flair. Actually, those who are not fans of dance might very well become fans via the indirect educational element of Burn the Floor, sort of like Holland America Line’s Dancing With The Stars At Sea took dance from just a thing they do on ships to a major attraction. From Grand Viennese waltzes to the sensual Tango and provocative Rumba, experience all their passion as they heat up the stage.
Ok, enough with the entertainment except to say: even those to whom entertainment is not a major reason to sail (any ship) (like me) will like if not love this.
A big draw for Norwegian Epic is the mix of itineraries, also adding to the ship’s allure as a unique cruise option. Varying in length and ports of call, Norwegian thinks Epic’s diverse itineraries will will be a recipe for success rolling forward to 2017 and 2018 as well. Ranging in length from three, four, six and seven days, Norwegian Epic’s itineraries that are sure to fit any schedule or Caribbean destination.
Seven-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries stop in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, arguably one of the best ‘private islands’ in the Bahamas and one that recently went through an extensive upgrade. That Great Stirrup Cay is included makes the customary stop at the cruise line’s island more a whole lot more than a day at the beach. More on Great Stirrup Cay later. Prices? You’re going to like this: start at $399 per person + tax
Seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary, featuring stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Great Stirrup Cay. Prices? Still lovely starting at $599 per person + tax.
Three- and Four-day Bahamas itineraries with stop in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.
3 days starts at $249 per person + tax
4-day sailings start at $299 per person + tax
Unique Cruise Option: Special Holiday Sailings are also available with two sail date options including a seven-day Western Caribbean sailing departing December 23 or a seven day Eastern Caribbean sailing departing on December 30 for those who want to cruise into the New Year.
Back to staterooms, one of the best parts of Norwegian Epic does not apply to most cruise travelers: solo staterooms…called “Studios” actually. Designed and priced just right for solo travelers. Studios feature a full-size bed, separate bath area and access to the private Studio Lounge. No single supplement required.
Cool and hip, right down to the funky lighting and flat screen TV, this exclusive key card access-only category is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. These staterooms have a full size bed for one guest and a window view to the corridor. Studio guests have private key card access to The Living Room, which is a shared private lounge that boasts a bar, two large TV screens and comfy seating for hanging out, reading a book or just enjoying a drink before dinner. Awarded “Best Cruise Line for Solo Travelers” by Porthole Magazine in 2012; Norwegian Epic is the ship of choice that was specifically designed and priced for the solo traveler.
Of particular note, that Norwegian Epic is sailing from Port Canaveral is significant. Florida’s Space Coast is quickly becoming one of the easiest, cleanest and most efficient embarkation ports in the world. Named the #1 cruise port in Florida by Cruise Critic, it’s a short hop to Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center and other coastal attractions, not to mention an hour drive from Disney World, Universal Studios and other Central Florida attractions. Now being serviced regularly by Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line as well, Norwegian Cruise Line’s move to bring Norwegian Epic to town is a solid indicator that the line is here to stay.
LEARN MORE LINKS-
- Great Stirrup Cay
- Port Canaveral
- Norwegian Epic Included Dining Options
- Norwegian Epic Specialty Dining Options
- Norwegian Epic Entertainment Options
CRUISE TRAVEL OPTIONS FROM PORT CANAVERAL BY CRUISE LINE