In short, prepare to be soaked.
NCL's First Aqua Park
Following in Carnival and Royal Caribbean's footsteps, a sprawling Aqua Park will boast a whopping three waterslides, including one that utilizes an inner tube; a twisty slide (a la Carnival Dream's corkscrew slide); and one just for kids that actually goes right through the rock-climbing wall. The most unusual is "Epic Plunge," the slide that uses inner tubes -- passengers will zip down a 200-ft. channel into a bowl where centrifugal forces will spin them for a bit before they splash down. There will also be two pools with lighting effects produced at night, five whirlpools and a kids' splash pool with water spouting sculptures (reminiscent of Royal Caribbean's H20 Zone).
Other Onboard Amusements
While other NCL ships feature rock-climbing walls, Epic's will be quite a bit larger: 33 feet high, 64 feet wide. There will also be a rappelling wall, the first at sea (this is almost the opposite of rock-climbing -- you work your way down a cliff by rappelling off of it).
A multi-use sports deck will include a full size basketball court, volleyball, soccer, dodge ball, batting cage, bungee trampoline, rope adventure course and a 24-foot tall enclosed climbing cage called the spider web. Norwegian Epic will also feature the first squash court at sea, located in the fitness center.
Bowling. Norwegian Epic will feature six bowling lanes (split between two venues), upping the number of lanes found on previous NCL new-builds Norwegian Pearl and Gem.
Kids' Stuff. Recess features two separate spaces for kids ages two through nine and tweens, ages 10 through 12. The kids' area includes a space-themed play area, air hockey table, dance floor, Wii's, etc. The Tween Zone features multiple Wii and PlayStation areas, along with a private karaoke performance stage/cinema.
Entourage is Norwegian Epic's top-ship teen area (ages 13 through 17). This space includes air hockey; pinball; foosball; a video jukebox; and nine flat-screen TV's, five of which are located around a central video game console featuring PS3. In the evening, Entourage turns into a nightclub. There's also an arcade a floor below.
Taste. NCL says "traditional and contemporary cuisine" will be served in this atrium eatery decorated with velvet curtains, white walls and brick accents.
The Manhattan Room. This will be an two-story Art Deco supper club with a dance floor (and live evening music). We're not clear on the menu just yet: NCL says "the cuisine reflects the elegant and romantic nature of the room."
Cafe Jardin & The Great Outdoors. As on other recent launches, Cafe Jardin is NCL's answer to the traditional cruise ship buffet -- an action-station-only Lido eatery.
Cagney's Steakhouse & Churrascaria. Cagney's, NCL's signature steakhouse, is back. But this time, an Argentinean churrasco will be added. Expect to sup on skewered meats presented by tableside passadors. A per-person charge, to be determined, will apply.
La Cucina. An olive tree and hanging lanterns will adorn this NCL favorite, a Tuscan-style Italian eatery. A per-person charge will apply.
Le Bistro. Another returning restaurant, NCL's French bistro, Le Bistro, will on Epic feature contemporary and traditional paintings and sculptures. A per-person charge will apply.
Shanghai's. New for Epic, Shanghai's will serve a mix of Chinese dishes in a noodle bar setting -- noodles, wok fried dishes and dim sum will be prepared in an open kitchen. Expect to pay extra.
Wasabi. Located outside the Teppanyaki restaurant, Wasabi is an expansive sushi and sake bar. Expect to pay extra.
Teppanyaki. This will be NCL's largest Teppanyaki yet, and the largest at sea, seating 115 guests. Up to 24 chefs will cook nightly. A per-person charge will apply.
O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill. Hungry around the clock? This 24-hour joint will be fashioned after a hometown-y sports bar, serving comfort food. Here you'll find three lanes of bowling, dart boards, pool tables, foosball and arcade games.
The Epic Club and Courtyard Grill. Reserved exclusively for Norwegian Epic's suite and villa guests, the Epic Club will feature a large wine display, glass sculptures and pearl drapes. The Courtyard Grill is a casual, outdoor area of the restaurant serving suite and villa guests breakfast and lunch.
At this point we don't know which eateries will carry extra fees; stay tuned. Also, one more restaurant will be announced in May.
Join the discussion on the NCL forum!
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor, and Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor