Norwegian Epic

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If Las Vegas could float, it would probably look a lot like the Norwegian Epic. This is a ship that truly lives up to its name, with razzle-dazzle eye candy luring passengers around every corner. With a 4,100-passenger capacity, boundless activities—from a water park to a Blue Man Group performance—and more dining options than even true gourmands would know what to do with, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic is sure to be a big hit with parents and children alike—even those hard-to-please teenagers will crack a smile or two.

staterooms The dizzying array of accommodation options in and of itself is enough to make one swoon, with 2,114 staterooms that range from the 100-sq.-ft. Studio staterooms to the 852-sq.-ft. Owner’s Suites. For families, we recommend the appropriately named Family Deluxe Balcony staterooms. Conveniently located in close proximity to the Norwegian’s Kid’s Crew club, these staterooms sleep up to four guests and feature two lower beds that can be combined into a queen bed, one upper berth and a sofa bed. Room amenities include a sitting area with flat-screen TV, mini-bar, bathroom with tub and shower, and floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a private balcony.

But what really had us gaga was the Courtyard Villa complex, with an array of top-of-the-line accommodations, including 46 Villas that are a must for families with very deep pockets. This “ship within a ship” concept is part of the line’s VIP cruising experience and comes complete with dedicated amenities, including a private pool surrounded by plush daybeds and private cabanas, chaise lounges, two hot tubs, indoor and outdoor dining, sundeck, bar, private gym and dedicated concierge desk.

Villas here sleep up to five guests, and include a separate children’s bedroom, two bathrooms, dining area and living room, sitting area, espresso/cappuccino maker, flat-screen TV with CD/DVD player and library, private balcony (some Villas feature solariums), as well as butler and concierge service.

The Courtyard Villa complex also houses 31 Spa staterooms, eight Spa Suites, seven Penthouses, six Courtyard Penthouses, and eight Deluxe Owner’s Suites.

just for kids, sorta! From tots to teens, the Norwegian Epic offers a ton of amenities, with the Aqua Park being one of our very favorites. This expansive water park with three water slides of varying thrill factors is enough to make anyone giddy with excitement. There’s a tube slide designed for children that zips straight through the rock climbing wall, a more adventurous slide that twists and turns down three stories, and “The Epic Plunge,” where riders on inner tubes are blasted into the core of a bowl slide then dropped into a 200-ft.-long tunnel before ending in a splashdown lane.

The Aqua Park also features two main pools with arching water effects that illuminate at night, five jacuzzis, a wading pool and children’s Splash and Play Zone, complete with a pint-size pool, water sprays and a kiddy slide.

And then there are the Nickelodeon-themed activities, including live Nickelodeon shows like ”Slime Time Live,” and a chance to get autographs from popular characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. Families with little ones can even enjoy Nickelodeon Character Breakfasts, complete with singing, dancing and photo opportunities, as well as the chance to participate in games.

When passengers have had enough of Nick’s infamous green slime, they can check out decks 15, 16 and 17, offering all sorts of sports-driven fun, including basketball, volleyball, soccer and dodge ball, as well as a batting cage, ice skating rink, bungee trampoline, climbing cage (called the spider web), table tennis, and the 33-ft.-high rock climbing and rappelling wall, complete with varying degrees of difficulty and rated according to official U.S. climbing grades. Or, the whole family can enjoy a game of bowling at one of six lanes located in two venues on board.

If the kids have any energy left—we’re sure this won’t be an issue—they can head to the Epic’s Kid’s Crew club. Separated into two areas—kids (ages 2-9) and tweens (ages 10-12)—the kids’ area includes a space-themed play area, air hokey, Wii gaming area, arts and crafts area, interactive light-up dance floor and a surround-sound cinema. The tween area, meanwhile, boasts multiple PlayStation 3 and Wii gaming areas, as well as a cinema and a karaoke stage. And, of course, there’s also a variety of Nickelodeon-themed activities!

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