By John Deiner
Cruise Critic Contributor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Norwegian Epic Entertainment & Activities

Day & Night

During the day, cruisers have plenty of choices inside and out. Inside, you'll find everything from trivia and dance classes to an extra-fee bowling alley near O'Sheehan's. Outside are traditional cruise pastimes including shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, basketball challenges and pool games. There's also occasionally movies screened on the large screen in the atrium.

  • Daytime schedules are packed with trivia, circus skills workshops, dance classes, towel-folding demos and other similar activities
  • Three-lane, extra-fee bowling alley
  • The nighttime bar scene is happening and lively (don't miss The Beatles cover band in the Cavern Club)
  • Shows, such as "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are outstanding but perhaps generally not for children
  • Busy casino with a variety of table games, slot machines and tournaments

The main theatrical event on the ship is the Broadway show, "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Based on the Oscar-winning movie, it's a dazzling production with fabulous costumes and a hit parade of toe-tapping dance floor favorites. Note: It contains adult themes and is not recommended for children or the easily offended.

A second show is "Burn the Floor," with dazzling dance numbers, mainly of the Latin variety; as with "Priscilla," this show may not be for children.

You'll need to book tickets (they're free) for the theater's headline shows before sailing; any empty seats will be opened to stand-by passengers about 10 minutes before showtime.

When not enjoying main theater entertainment, Epic's cruisers hit up the bars and lounges in large numbers. The Cavern Club, a recreation of the legendary Liverpool club made famous by The Beatles, is one of the most popular venues; its standing room only when The Beatles tribute band is playing.

For those looking for some dinner theater action, the colorful Spiegel Tent hosts the nightly Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show for an extra fee. You'll want to go for theatrical entertainment and gravity-defying acrobatics; the food is pretty dull and forgettable.

Other nighttime activities include ballroom dancing, karaoke, comedy, live music and nightclub dancing in the later hours.

Norwegian Epic Bars and Lounges

With a dozen bars and lounges onboard, you'll easily be able to find a spot to suit your needs. There's even an ice bar to cool you down after a hot day in the sun.

Highlights include:

O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill (Deck 6): The sun is always over the yardarm at this 24/7 pub.

Humidor Cigar Lounge (Deck 7): This cozy dark-red lounge has the feel of a gentlemen's club and has a humidor stocked with premium-brand and hand-rolled cigars. It tends to be used in the evening, and the cigar-lovers don't like it if cigarette smokers slip in for a sneaky puff.

Maltings Whiskey Bar (Deck 7): Next to the cigar lounge, this intimate bar has an old-fashioned feel and offers dozens of varieties of Canadian, Irish, American, Welsh or Scotch single malts and blends.

Wasabi Sake Bar (Deck 7): To work up an appetite for dinner at the adjoining sushi restaurant, sip some hot sake or go kamikaze with an Ichi, Ni, San (one, two, three) sake "bomb" downed in one swallow.

Shaker's Martini Bar (Deck 7): This piano bar is a sophisticated spot to unwind with a cocktail or a flute of Champagne.

Svedka and Inniskillin Ice Bar (Deck 7): Undoubtedly the coolest spot on the ship, passengers can literally grab a cold one in the bar where everything -- bar, glasses and stools – is made from ice. Bar-goers are outfitted with cold-weather capes and woolen gloves, and the cover charge gives you a choice of two vodka-based drinks.

Norwegian Epic Outside Recreation

  • Epic has two pools, a kids' splash area and a private pool just for suite passengers
  • Adults-only Spice H20 space
  • Plenty of outdoor fun with a three-water slide water park, rock climbing wall and mini-golf

Norwegian Epic's outdoor decks are busy and noisy, particularly on sunny sea days. Cruisers of all ages flock to the main pool, with its four whirlpools, while kids love the Splash and Play Zone, a shaded oasis of fountains, wading pools and animal sculptures tucked under the Aqua Park water slides. Note: No diapers of any kind, including those marketed as "swimmers," are permitted in the swimming pools or hot tubs.

Speaking of the Aqua Park, here you'll find the Epic Plunge, in which riders step into a giant funnel before dropping suddenly through a 200-foot-long chute into a pool below. Two other slides are just as wet -- maybe not as wild, but worth the wait.

Loungers around the main pool fill up quickly. There are more located on balconies around the pool, accessed via a staircase, but there is no shade. (Tip: Head further aft to find available seating or check out the nearly hidden -- and frequently uncrowded -- sun deck on Deck 18.)

Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the main pool area should check out Spice H2O, a tiered stage-like adults-only space with a pool, two hot tubs and plenty of loungers at the back of the ship. The Haven suite passengers have their own private pool on Deck 16.

Other outdoor diversions include a rock climbing wall (33 feet high and 64 feet wide) and an industry-first rappelling wall. The sports complex, on Deck 17, has a full-sized basketball court, bungee trampoline and Slide Spider Mountain, a two-deck climbing cage.

And don't forget the SplashGolf attraction, located in the Splash and Play Zone. This interactive water-based game combines two age-old elements of fun -- water and mini-golf -- and is a top pick for families.

Norwegian Epic Services

  • Guest and shore excursion services
  • Future cruise sales
  • Library and card room
  • Photo gallery, camera shop and portrait studio
  • Bridge viewing room
  • Internet cafe (find Norwegian Cruise Line prices here)
  • Shops: designer accessories and clothing, fine jewelry, Norwegian-branded items, toiletries, snacks, art gallery, duty-free alcohol and tobacco products
  • Meeting rooms
  • Laundry service (no self-serve facilities)
  • ATM
  • Medical center

Norwegian Epic Spa & Fitness

  • Large selection of body treatment, facial, medi-spa and salon services
  • Frequent spa specials offered, especially on port days
  • Extra-fee thermal suite features heated loungers, a pool and hot tubs
  • Full fitness center with lots of Technogym equipment, as well as free weights, a stretching area and two classrooms (one for spinning and another for TRX and aerobics)

Spa

The expansive 31,000-square-foot Mandara Spa features a menu of more than 40 massages, facials, medi-spa treatments (Botox and the like), manicures and more, as well as a thermal suite. Prices are similar to what you'd pay in a large city.

The thermal spa comprises a pool with a selection of water jets and whirlpools; nearby are heated stone beds and an outside relaxation area with loungers. Passes are available by day or for your full cruise; although numbers are limited, the area does get crowded on sea days.

Changing rooms for men and women each have a sauna, which is free to use.

Separate from the spa is a men's barbershop situated at the back of Deck 7 that offers services such as a cut and style, or shave with cleansing and exfoliation.

Fitness

Next to the spa is the supersized Pulse gym, with panoramic windows that offer plenty of ocean and port views. The well-equipped space includes dozens of treadmills, cross trainers, static bikes, fixed and free weights, Swiss balls and kettle bells. There are dedicated studios for spinning classes and TRX suspension training, both of which are used for group sessions that cost extra. Free classes include stretching, Fab Abs and body conditioning. Yoga and Pilates classes cost extra, as does personal training and a three-session boot camp.

The gym area is also used for complimentary seminars and fitness talks, usually aimed at selling a product or additional services.

Passengers can stretch their legs on the outdoor jogging and walking track on Deck 7; 3.6 laps of the circuit measures 1 mile.

Norwegian Epic For Kids

  • Norwegian Escape caters to families beyond the kids' clubs, with dedicated cabins, pool areas and recreational activities, and even spa treatments
  • Four separate kids' club programs divided by age group (3 to 5, 6 to 9, 10 to 12 and 13 to 17), each with their own play area or hangout space
  • Group nursery service (ages 6 months to just under 3 years) is available throughout the day
  • Infants must be at least 6 months to cruise. For voyages with three or more consecutive sea days, babies must be at least 12 months old.

Kids

The Splash Academy divides youngsters into four age groups: Guppies (6 months to 3 years), Turtles (3 to 5), Seals (6 to 9) and Dolphins (10 to 12). Guppies have a separate playroom open most of the day. (Note: A diaper-changing fee is charged if a parent cannot be contacted by the Splash Academy staff.)

Typical activities in Splash Academy might include face painting, puzzles and a treasure hunt for the little ones and an Olympics or video game tournaments for older children.

The program runs throughout the day on sea days with a break for lunch and dinner, but on port days a Port Play program is available for children aged 3 to 12. The service is free, but there is a meal fee per child, per meal. The service is offered between the hours of arrival and departure.

There is no in-cabin, private babysitting, but the Late Night Fun Zone is a group-sitting service for kids aged 3 to 12. It is available from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and there is an hourly charge per child.

Teens

Teenagers have their own dedicated lounge, Entourage. Open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., the glass-enclosed enclave features air hockey, football, flat-screen TVs and plush couches that encourage chilling. A video arcade is situated just below. 

For teens, bowling tournaments, soccer challenges and dodge ball under the stars are just a few of the scheduled activities that might be offered.

Norwegian Epic Ship Stats

  • Crew: 1,738
  • Launched: 2010
  • Decks: 19
  • Passengers: 4,100
  • Registry: Bahamas
  • CDC Score: 92

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