Saturday, February 7, 2009

NCL's New F3 Ship Will Be An "Epic"

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced the name for its new F3 ship: Norwegian Epic. As the name implies, the ship will be the largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date. The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic is scheduled to sail year-round to the Caribbean from Miami, beginning in summer 2010. Following a series of inaugural events in Europe and the U.S., the ship will homeport in Miami and will sail year-round to the Caribbean offering alternating 7-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages through April 2011. These cruises are scheduled to go on sale to the public later this spring.

“The F3 experience will take our already successful Freestyle Cruising to the next level, affording our guests the ultimate freedom and flexibility. Norwegian Epic, denoting a ship that is very impressive on a grand scale, is the most fitting name,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s president and CEO. “The combination of the ship’s exciting new features, along with the tropical allure of these Caribbean destinations, will provide an extraordinary cruise vacation for our guests.”

The ship’s Western Caribbean itinerary will include stops in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. Norwegian Epic’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Epic represents the next generation of Freestyle Cruising–a ship that incorporates a wide range of new features and amenities, including curved New Wave staterooms and unique nightlife options. To date, the company has revealed five unique nightlife venues that rival the experiences of Las Vegas, Ibiza, the Riviera and South Beach. The five venues include the industry's first true Ice Bar; POSH Beach Club (pictured above), a first of its kind beach club at sea that offers an exclusive, adults-only setting at the top of the ship; Halo, the Über Bar, a private bar and lounge in the ship-within-a-ship villa complex; Bliss Ultra Lounge, NCL's all-day entertainment and nightclub complex with four-lane bowling alley; and Spice H20, an adults-only aft pool deck experience.

In addition, the ship will feature the New Wave standard, New Wave balcony and New Wave deluxe staterooms that represent a giant leap forward in cruise ship accommodations with a completely fresh take on bathroom design, contemporary curved architecture, and open living space. The New Wave stateroom’s most distinctive design element is its curved walls and lines creating a modern and chic environment. NCL has maximized the living space with a unique bathroom that features a separate shower stall, separate water closet, and a modern vanity top sink. Staterooms feature a sophisticated earth-tone palette accented with a splash of color and rich, dark wood. Concealed contour LED lighting and back-lit domed ceilings set a relaxing vibe.

NCL plans to unveil additional details about Norwegian Epic in the near future. To view renderings and register for news, visit NCL will open Norwegian Epic’s sailings for group block bookings exclusively for travel partners in mid-March 2009.


herb said...

Linda, how would you rate NCL when compared to Carnival and Royal? We've heard quite a few good reviews from fellow cruisers, but also several absolute horror stories.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

Herb, they are all "mainstream" ships. The onboard experience is naturally different, but each line does many things well. For instance, NCL has more options in terms of dining with as many as 10 to 12 restaurants on their newer ships.

I've heard wonderful comments about all the cruise lines you mentioned, as well as absolute horror stories about each of them. That's why it's really important to do your research.

The atmosphere of any ship can change from week to week depending on the mix of passengers and crewmembers.