(9:45 a.m. EST) -- An in-depth rundown of Norwegian Epic's dining venues and options occurred today at Cruise Shipping Miami, the industry's annual conference where the long-awaited Norwegian Cruise Line ship is an obvious hot topic. We already knew that Epic, now under construction at STX France, would feature oodles of options -- 21, in fact -- but until this morning, we didn't know which would levy extra costs.
Eleven of the 21 dining choices are fee-free (otherwise known as "included in the cruise fare"), and most are new to NCL.
Spice H20, the adults-only aft pool area, will feature Latin-Asian cuisine day and night and, according to NCL's marketing chief Andy Stuart, a guaranteed sunset. "Even on cloudy days the sun will set on Spice H20," he says wickedly (hint: there's a big television screen that will broadcast sunsets on the off-chance that the sun doesn't shine).
O'Sheehans is a bar and grill that's open 24 hours.
For romantics, the Manhattan Room (pictured; click here to check out more dining photos), is a supper-club style venue that will mix music and dancing. Three nights per cruise, Legends in Concert -- a tribute group covering artists from Elvis to Madonna -- will perform live here.
The atrium will have a pair of restaurants. Taste will serve a blend of traditional and contemporary cuisine; the Atrium Cafe and Wine Bar will feature tapas.
Other dining options that will not require additional expenditures are the Garden Cafe, NCL's buffet venue with its informal "action station dining; the Great Outdoors, a poolside grill; and room service. Residents of the ship's Studio cabins, geared toward solo travelers, can snack at the Studio Lounge. And passengers occupying Epic's top suites can choose between the more formal Epic Club or the casual Courtyard Grill.
Cirque Dreams & Dinner, offering two shows nightly that include three-course meals, will cost $15 for general seating and $20 per person for preferred seating.
Epic, the largest ship in NCL's fleet, will also feature 10 specialty options that incur extra charges, and these feature some familiar faces, like Cagney's ($25 per person), Le Bistro ($20 per person), the Italian La Cucina ($10 per person) and an expanded Teppanyaki ($25 per person).
Speaking of Asian food, new to Norwegian Epic is Shanghai's Noodle Bar (a la carte). The rest of the Asian invasion includes Shanghai's ($15 per person), focusing on Chinese cuisine, and Wasabi (also a la carte), for sushi.
Brazilian culture and cuisine are also represented; the Moderno Churrascaria ($18) is inspired by the increasingly popular meat-lovers' paradises on land.
Finally -- and this is pretty nifty -- there's what I call "freestyle" pizza delivery. For $5 passengers can order a 16-inch pie to be delivered anywhere on the ship: cabins, poolside, even in bars. The only places you can't get delivery? Restaurants that serve other food.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
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