Here's the deal: If you think you might be interested in cruising on Norwegian Epic, most likely in late June or early July 2010 from somewhere in Europe to somewhere on the East Coast of the U.S., you can call your travel agent or NCL at 866-234-7350 to be put on a waitlist. When NCL reveals the itinerary and pricing for this cruise at a later date, you will get a call the day before the cruise goes on sale to the general public and will, therefore, have first priority at booking a cabin on that sailing. Joining the waitlist does not commit you to booking this cruise, but it does give you a slight edge over everyone else in getting first dibs on cabin type and location.
Norwegian Epic's inaugural season of alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, departing July 17, 2010 through April 2011, went on sale back in May 2009. However, NCL has yet to determine how the ship will get from Europe, where it's being built at STX Europe's Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France, to Miami where it will homeport for its Caribbean sailings. As the ship must cross the Atlantic, the cruise line has decided to make the transatlantic cruise the first itinerary available to the public, following a series of invitation-only, pre-inaugural cruises.
Norwegian Epic will be the largest, most innovative ship ever built by NCL. It's almost as notable for what's not onboard -- a large main dining room, big production theater, multi-deck atrium -- as for what is. The ship will feature an aqua park, rappelling wall, a ship-within-a-ship suite complex with 60 suites, a two-deck private courtyard, a circus-themed dinner show and an ice bar.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor