NCL's 153,000-ton, 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic, the most innovative ship of the year, has embarked on a two-day preview sailing -- and we're onboard!
Throughout the week, the Cruise Critic team will be bringing you all the news, reviews of the shows, impressions of the food and much more, including:
Industry insider first impressions: Among those onboard is Cruise Critic Editor in Chief, Carolyn Spencer Brown, who is posting her first impressions and photos on the new Cruise Critic UK Blog.
Epic questions, answered! We already know our members are bursting with questions! Kelly Ranson, our UK editor, will be racing around the ship for three days from Tuesday digging out the answers, so now is the time to post your query.
A look at how it all came together: We've got an exclusive Q&A with the ship's hotel director, Klaus Lugmaier, who has been onboard since April getting his crew installed, trained and motivated. Who knows: Lugmaier might also make an appearance later this week in our video coverage of this exciting new ship!
Everything Epic: Headlines So Far
NNorwegian Epic "TripWow" Slideshow
NCL Confirms Norwegian Epic Will Be One Of A Kind
Norwegian Epic Ready To Sail
The Trials and Tribulations of Norwegian Epic and Other New-Builds
As Norwegian Epic Arrives, Southampton Dreams Big
Update: Norwegian Epic Delayed into Southampton Due to Technical Problems
Norwegian Epic features an impressive string of "firsts," among them the first "plunge" waterslide at sea, the first ice bar at sea (faux fur coats and two cold drinks included in the $20 admission fee), the first residency of the Blue Man Group on a cruise ship and a big top (the so-called "Spiegel Tent") for a restaurant with dinner show. There are also 14 restaurants to replace the traditional single, big dining room and a whopping 128 single cabins.
However, the lead-up to the ship's launch hasn't been without controversy. First was the alarming news of three fires onboard during its last couple of months at the STX Europe shipyard in Western France. Then a technical issue with the ship's propeller shaft delayed its arrival into Southampton. With the problem now fixed, we're hoping for smooth sailing ahead from here on out.
Once Epic arrives in New York, we'll be back onboard to report on the naming ceremony, to be led by country singing legend Reba McEntire, on July 2. The ship will then serve as the host venue for Macy's 4th of July Fireworks celebration. So keep checking back!
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor
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