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all-inclusive epic greek island holiday: cruise & stay

16th Aug 2024 | 11 nights | Norwegian Cruise Line | Norwegian Epic

All-inclusive NCL Cruise
Pre-cruise stay in a central hotel
Return flights inc. checked bags
All our packages can be tailor-made
Santorini
Piraeus (Athens)
Valletta
Messina
Naples
Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
Villefranche-sur-Mer
All-inclusive NCL Cruise
Pre-cruise stay in a central hotel
Return flights inc. checked bags
All our packages can be tailor-made
ATOL protected

All-Inclusive Epic Greek Island Holiday: Cruise & Stay

Prepare to hop aboard an incredible cruise adventure, uncovering the best of the Mediterranean's treasures. Wander through the lively streets of Rome, soaking in its vibrant culture. Feel the glamour of Santorini and the irresistible charm of Tuscany. Dive into the history of the ancient wonders of Athens and be swept away by Sicily's breathtaking landscapes. Explore Naples' fascinating past and enjoy Corfu's scenic allure. Kick back on the pristine shores of the French Riviera before heading back to Rome, wrapping up a journey that blends history, beauty, and culture into unforgettable memories. Here's what's included:

  • Return flights from the UK, including checked baggage allowance
  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay at a handpicked central Rome hotel
  • 10-night cruise onboard Norwegian Epic
  • Free at Sea upgrade: Unlimited premium drinks package (worth over £900pp!) + all of the below
    • $50 per port per stateroom shore excursion credit
    • 1 speciality dining experience (2 if you book balcony or above)
    • Wi-Fi package

Customise Your Holiday: Add additional nights in Italy. Ask our team for details.


What's included with the Cruise

NCL offer two simple price models. The base fare is available on all stateroom categories and includes:

  • Comfortable, well-appointed en-suite accommodation
  • Meals in the main dining rooms, snack and buffet restaurants
  • Daily stateroom attendant service
  • All entertainment unless part of a dining entertainment production onboard
  • Casino & nightclub entry
  • Access to well-appointed gyms
  • Complimentary room service continental breakfast (other times, a tray delivery charge applies)
  • Selected soft-drinks in buffet restaurants at meal times plus tea & coffee

NCL's Free at Sea option allows to you add on your choice of perks. Usually, you can choose two but during selected promotions, you may receive all perks. Prices vary by duration but start at just £199pp for a 7-night cruise. You can choose the following:

  • Premium beverages
  • Speciality dining 
  • Wi-Fi package
  • Excursion discounts
  • Guests 3 & 4 (when sharing with 2 adults) sail for taxes only - selected sailings only
    • When purchasing a Free at Sea package, all gratuities and service charges associated with the selected perk are included (some exceptions may apply in certain territorial waters)
  • Guests travelling in Suites (not Club Balcony Suites) or The Haven can take advantage of all applicable Free at Sea perks at no additional cost

Suites & The Haven Suites

Guests staying in Suites and The Haven accommodation can enjoy a host of upgraded services and amenities including:

  • Guests 1 & 2 receive all Free at Sea perks (drinks, speciality dining, Wi-Fi, shore excursion discount)
  • Haven accommodation get exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with private pool, sundeck, hot tub and fitness area
  • 24-hour trained and certified suite butler
  • Concierge service
  • White tablecloth in-suite dining & escort to your suite
  • Priority embarkation and disembarkation
  • Distinctive platinum keycard to ensure priority service throughout the ship
  • Priority access to onboard dining & entertainment options, plus early access to pre-booking prior to sailing.
  • Complimentary limousine service from pier to airport (Garden Villa H1 only)
  • Champagne, custom selection of spirits, fruit, bottled water & sodas (H1, H2, H3, H4 only)
  • Sparkling wine, bottled water & fruit on embarkation day (all other H & S categories)
  • 24-hour room service
  • Mini-bar and espresso/cappuccino maker
  • Special Haven menus
  • Gourmet treats delivered to the suite each evening
  • Invitations to exclusive breakfast, lunch and Cocktail part with the ship's officers
  • Bliss Collection by Norwegian™ pillow-top mattress
  • Fine linens, feather duvet and pillow menu
  • Plush bath robes, slippers and oversized towels

Cruise Circle Collection packages adhere to our 7 point charter:

  • Up-front, honest pricing
  • No hidden fees
  • No booking fees. Ever.
  • A personal service
  • Educational trips and ship visits
  • Good quality accommodation
  • No unreasonable flight times
Learn more about our charter

Similar Packages:

Day
Date
 
Arrival
Departure
 
1
16th Aug 2024 Friday
Fly to Rome
Rome
 
 
 
 
Fly to Rome
Flights

Fly from the UK to Rome

Rome
Hotel

Upon arrival, head into Rome and your hand-picked, central hotel for a 1-night stay.

2
17th Aug 2024 Saturday
Civitavecchia (Rome)
 
17:00
Civitavecchia (Rome)
Cruise
Civitavecchia (Rome)

The capital city in the land of Leonardo, Michelangelo and the popes is today a living museum with gorgeous artwork, amazing architecture and inspiring ancient sites. At the same time, it's alive and vibrant in a 21st-century way. It's an unforgettable city to visit, and we'll warn you right now that once you've experienced it, you'll want to go back for more.

One of our favorite things to do there is walk and ogle. On a recent visit, we took one day to do the route from Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica -- with its jaw-dropping art, statuary, and religious significance -- to Via del Corso, where our quest for the latest Italian fashions was more than fulfilled amidst the well-dressed crowd of Roman shoppers. The next day, we went on an ancient history quest past ruins and columns, traversing the same streets Julius Caesar strode (and rode) to the Colosseum, where gladiators once battled. Walking on, we were awed by the Pantheon, the well-preserved ancient symbol of Rome and now a great hangout spot.

First-time visitors, many envisioning Rome as big and congested, will be surprised by the scenic layout, with its famous seven hills and the Tiber River running through the city. (Cleopatra famously made her grand entrance from the river.) And the senses may be shocked by the general energy, hustle and bustle. With cars, taxis and scooters roaring here and there, crossing the street can be a challenge. (Don't worry; there are quiet piazzas aplenty with lovely cafes where you can get away from it all and unwind.)

The food is, of course, wonderful -- we can't eat enough pasta -- and the spirit of la dolce vita (the good life) abounds. Whenever we do such a quest in Rome, we do regular gelato stops (try the yummy pine nut flavor) or coffee breaks. And the shopping scene serves up Prada, Gucci, Armani and more. (High style can be found in more affordable brands like Furla, as well.) What could be better than that?

No question, Rome has one of the world's most important collections of once-in-a-lifetime sights to see, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum and on and on and on. And for those historic monuments alone, the city is worth a visit.

But if you're on an itinerary where Rome is just a port of call for the day, you won't see everything. Either resign yourself to that fact, or book a tour that will at least drive you by the main sights. Be aware the port for Rome, Civitavecchia, is about 1.5 to 2 hours from the city. (There is decent train service.) If you're beginning or ending your cruise there, plan to stay at least a couple of nights to explore the Eternal City; it's likely to steal a piece of your heart. Make sure to drop a coin in Trevi Fountain, which is said to assure you'll come back again.

3
18th Aug 2024 Sunday
At Sea
 
 
4
19th Aug 2024 Monday
Santorini
13:00
21:30
Santorini
Cruise
Santorini
Spectacular Santorini -- scene of one of the world's most violent volcanic eruptions around 1450 B.C. -- is inarguably the most scenically dramatic of all the Greek Islands. Officially the island is Thira, yet the Latin name of Santorini persists. With its pitch-black beaches, rugged landscape and stunning caldera (volcanic crater), it's more akin to one of the Canary Islands than the Cyclades, though its whitewashed churches and clifftop houses score highly in the charm stakes.

This is the island for lovers of natural beauty, though sun seekers may not fancy its beaches. Best views are from the cliffs bordering the caldera, which was formed when the center of the island basically collapsed into itself. Geologists marvel at the cliffs' multi-hued strata of rock, lava and pumice, so take your camera and be prepared to feel the earth move (perhaps even literally -- Santorini's most recent major earthquake was in 1956, although there was one nearby in 2009).

It's worth remembering that the bay surrounding Santorini is actually the world's largest volcanic crater, created 3,500 years ago by a massive eruption of the Thera volcano (which is still active). The bay is also believed by some to conceal the legendary lost city of Atlantis. There's plenty here to set your imagination working, even though the modern-day city of Thira, officially Fira, was completely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1956.

If you're happy to enjoy a browse around the shops and a lazy lunch with a view, Fira will fit the bill perfectly -- and it even has some 9th-century clifftop ruins to explore. But to see the best of Santorini, you should take a shore excursion, via bus or taxi, further afield.
5
20th Aug 2024 Tuesday
Piraeus (Athens)
06:30
20:00
Piraeus (Athens)
Cruise
Piraeus (Athens)
Named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world -- built around its namesake deity's temple, the Parthenon, which still stands today. But Athens feels far from an ancient city. While it has done an excellent job at preserving sites like the Acropolis (where the Parthenon is located) and Greek Orthodox churches, it has evolved into a hip and modern metropolis and homeport for ships sailing the Greek Islands. The city's recently overhauled Metro system also provides a cheap, safe and easy way to get around for sightseeing if you have extra time before or after your cruise. Aside from major landmarks, even once-dingy neighbourhoods like Plaka and Thissio have been restored, boasting fresh pastel-coloured painted facades and chic restaurants, bars and shops. Syntagma Square -- Athens' central square -- also has been reborn as a tree-filled haven from which to take in the city's gorgeous neoclassical Parliament building and catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Yes, that means you get to watch those men in frilly skirts, elaborate waistcoats and bobbled shoes do their high-kicking thing.) Athens, once (in some parts, still) one of the most frenetic and traffic-polluted cities in the world, now owns a real buzz and is well worth spending a few days in if your cruise starts or ends there.
6
21st Aug 2024 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
7
22nd Aug 2024 Thursday
Valletta
09:00
22:00
Valletta
Cruise
Valletta

Sailing into Valletta, Malta, is akin to stepping into the pages of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy; once you are in the protected harbour, it feels as though modern civilization has disappeared. Oh, you can see a car or two driving on the winding streets amid the limestone battlements, crenelated castles and hillside structures, but they seem terribly out of place and unexpected. Never mind that Malta, which owns 7,000 years of intriguing history, is fully modernized and contemporary. What you see when entering Valletta Harbour are the formidable defensive stone battlements of forts pockmarked by war guarding the strategic waterway. Cream-colored buildings and ancient church steeples grow out of the twisting streets and hillsides. In the bay and channels, Malta's colourful luzzo boats, fishing craft resembling an elf's shoe, ply the waters in the wake of modern giant cruise ships and tankers. Valletta was built by the Knights of St. John as a place to take care of wounded soldiers and pilgrims during the Crusades in the 16th century. Its unique landscape and ancient buildings have appeared in films such as "Troy," "Gladiator," "Captain Phillips" and "World War Z." This tiny Mediterranean country is part of an archipelago of five islands, only three of which are inhabited. Cruise ships visit the island of Malta and the port of Valletta (designed by a colleague of Michelangelo). Malta has been inhabited since 5000 B.C. and was colonized by the Phoenicians in 1000 B.C. Then, the islands went in turn to the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and the Spanish, who handed them over to the Knights of the Order of St. John in a "perpetual lease" in 1533; this lasted until Napoleon seized control in 1798. The Maltese did not like the French, however, and rebelled by seeking aid from Great Britain; Malta became a British protectorate in 1800 and a part of the British Empire in 1814. Later, it shook off the British, as well, and was granted independence in 1964. Since 1974, Malta is a republic under the British Commonwealth. The influence of all of these cultures is evident in Malta, with the Roman period seemingly taking precedence.

8
23rd Aug 2024 Friday
Messina
08:00
18:00
Messina
Cruise
Messina

Messina is Sicily's most important city and port on the north east coast. From here you can take a tour to Taormina, a beautiful city overlooking Mount Etna. Visit the Palazzo Corvaia which dates from the l5th Century and the acoustically perfect Greek Theatre offering outstanding views of the Sicilian countryside.

9
24th Aug 2024 Saturday
Naples
06:45
16:30
Naples
Cruise
Naples
You know instantly when you're docked in Naples. First of all, where else is there a Norman castle overlooking the port, a royal palace above the castle and a fortress, Castel Sant'Elmo, right on the top of the hillside overlooking them all? But beyond these historic fortifications, there is the unmistakable shape of Vesuvius. Very few volcanoes look more like those of your imagination than Vesuvius. Amazingly, suburbs climb up its flanks; if Vesuvius explodes again, 600,000 people will have to be evacuated from the city.

Over the centuries, Naples was ruled by many European families. You'll see some of them represented by statues on the facade on Palazzo Reale: Charles V of the Hapsburgs, Charles III of the Bourbons, Joseph Murat of the Bonaparte family and finally Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy who became king of Italy in 1861. Unfortunately, with the Italian capital moving to Turin, then Florence and finally Rome, Naples lost much of its importance. A civic decline set in during the 19th century, and the city has yet to recover. The historic center still has far too many boarded-up palazzos.

The city is home to architectural highpoints -- the Gallerias Principe di Napoli and Umberto II, the royal palaces, churches and former convents -- but there are also some unfortunate 1970's-style apartment blocks that wreck the view up to Vesuvius or down to the sea. This is a city of broad corsos (avenues) as well as narrow alleyways. Judging by the gesticulations of those who drive around its streets, it's also a very passionate city. Naples is unmistakably less self-conscious than Rome or Florence and more real than Venice.

The port of Naples serves as a gateway to key destinations -- Pompeii, Sorrento, Ravello, Positano, Capri and Ischia -- but it is also a city to be enjoyed in its own right.

Take a deep breath, plunge in and enjoy.
10
25th Aug 2024 Sunday
Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
09:00
21:00
Livorno (Florence/Pisa)
Cruise
Livorno (Florence/Pisa)

On any Western Mediterranean itinerary, Florence is an absolute highlight -- the gem of the early Italian Renaissance. In the 15th century, when great artists like Giotto, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo worked there, they created magnificent examples of painting and sculpture that today still fill Florentine churches, civic buildings, grand palazzi and world-class museums like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia. Architecture prospered in Florence, too. The city's signature work of art is the masterful Brunelleschi-designed dome of its cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo. No question, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, for cruise travelers with just one precious day on a six-hour port of call, it's impossible to see it all. We should note that, as lovely as Florence's famous River Arno is, it's nowhere near big enough (and its bridges are far too low) to allow any kind of ship inside the heart of the city -- and here we include low-slung river vessels along with more traditional cruise ships. As such, it can be confusing to see a cruise itinerary that calls on Florence when ships actually dock at the huge commercial port of Livorno, a good hour-plus drive from the Renaissance City. However, the charmless city of Livorno (it was badly bombed during World War II) serves as a jumping-off point for daytrips elsewhere. And while Florence is no doubt the richest destination of all, Livorno's north Tuscan locale means that other cities -- Pisa, with its famous leaning tower; the walled city of Lucca; and San Gimignano, with 14 of its medieval towers still intact -- are also options.

11
26th Aug 2024 Monday
Villefranche-sur-Mer
07:00
16:00
Villefranche-sur-Mer
Cruise
Villefranche-sur-Mer
Lovely, much more laid back than other -- splashier -- Cote d'Azur resort towns like Nice, Cannes and Monaco, Villefranche, whose old town dates back to the 14th century, evokes a romantic, historic feel. For those weary of sightseeing, it's a terrific port for hanging out and relaxing.
12
27th Aug 2024 Tuesday
Civitavecchia (Rome)
Fly to the UK
06:00
 
 
 
Civitavecchia (Rome)
Cruise
Civitavecchia (Rome)

The capital city in the land of Leonardo, Michelangelo and the popes is today a living museum with gorgeous artwork, amazing architecture and inspiring ancient sites. At the same time, it's alive and vibrant in a 21st-century way. It's an unforgettable city to visit, and we'll warn you right now that once you've experienced it, you'll want to go back for more.

One of our favorite things to do there is walk and ogle. On a recent visit, we took one day to do the route from Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica -- with its jaw-dropping art, statuary, and religious significance -- to Via del Corso, where our quest for the latest Italian fashions was more than fulfilled amidst the well-dressed crowd of Roman shoppers. The next day, we went on an ancient history quest past ruins and columns, traversing the same streets Julius Caesar strode (and rode) to the Colosseum, where gladiators once battled. Walking on, we were awed by the Pantheon, the well-preserved ancient symbol of Rome and now a great hangout spot.

First-time visitors, many envisioning Rome as big and congested, will be surprised by the scenic layout, with its famous seven hills and the Tiber River running through the city. (Cleopatra famously made her grand entrance from the river.) And the senses may be shocked by the general energy, hustle and bustle. With cars, taxis and scooters roaring here and there, crossing the street can be a challenge. (Don't worry; there are quiet piazzas aplenty with lovely cafes where you can get away from it all and unwind.)

The food is, of course, wonderful -- we can't eat enough pasta -- and the spirit of la dolce vita (the good life) abounds. Whenever we do such a quest in Rome, we do regular gelato stops (try the yummy pine nut flavor) or coffee breaks. And the shopping scene serves up Prada, Gucci, Armani and more. (High style can be found in more affordable brands like Furla, as well.) What could be better than that?

No question, Rome has one of the world's most important collections of once-in-a-lifetime sights to see, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum and on and on and on. And for those historic monuments alone, the city is worth a visit.

But if you're on an itinerary where Rome is just a port of call for the day, you won't see everything. Either resign yourself to that fact, or book a tour that will at least drive you by the main sights. Be aware the port for Rome, Civitavecchia, is about 1.5 to 2 hours from the city. (There is decent train service.) If you're beginning or ending your cruise there, plan to stay at least a couple of nights to explore the Eternal City; it's likely to steal a piece of your heart. Make sure to drop a coin in Trevi Fountain, which is said to assure you'll come back again.

Fly to the UK
Flights

Disembark Norwegian Epic for your return flight to the UK

With so much going on, Norwegian Epic is a cruise ship with broad appeal. The ship was one of the first at sea to be referred to as Las Vegas-esque and it's no wonder. With more than a dozen restaurants, shows that range from Broadway to The Beatles, an active casino and outdoor attractions that include water slides and rock climbing walls, there's enough to keep cruisers busy from sunup to well past sundown.

Epic's passengers delight in all the choices; they're onboard to have fun and they do so in spades, though the ship does provide a handful of quiet spots for those looking for a more relaxed vacation. Either way, be prepared to rub elbows with your fellow passengers as the most popular shows, restaurants, bars and activities are always full -- no time for napping on an Epic cruise

As with a visit to any city, Epic's passengers need to plan ahead to make the most of their time onboard. Dinners and shows should be booked ahead of sailing or you may find yourself on the outside looking in. Lines are common, and much of the onboard experience, particularly dining, costs extra.

Besides the families, couples and groups of friends who make up the bulk of Norwegian Epic's passengers, you'll also find a fair number of solo cruisers on the ship. With no supplemental fees for its single studio cabins and a lounge designed to help single travellers meet other passengers, the ship is a standout for solo cruisers.

Unless you're doing something wrong, you won't leave this ship feeling hungry or bored.

Daytime: Casual is the way to go, with shorts, capri pants, jeans, collared shirts, T-shirts and swimwear the norm.

Evening: You'll see women in casual dresses, skirts, and pants and blouses, and men in slacks or "nice" shorts and collared, sports or button-down shirts. On the optional formal night, you'll spot men in jackets, button-up shirts (with or without ties) and women in cocktail dresses and elegant pantsuits.

Not permitted: Beach-style shorts and ripped jeans are not permitted in the main dining rooms.

Day & Night

  • 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

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.

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 theatre's headline shows before sailing; any empty seats will be opened to stand-by passengers about 10 minutes before showtime.

When not enjoying main theatre 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 theatre action, the colourful 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 cosy 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 woollen 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 jewellery, Norwegian-branded items, toiletries, snacks, art gallery, duty-free alcohol and tobacco products
  • Meeting rooms
  • Laundry service (no self-serve facilities)
  • ATM
  • Medical centre
  • 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 centre 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.

  • More than 14 free and extra-fee dining options, representing American, Japanese, Italian, French, Brazilian and Spanish cuisines
  • Vegetarian options always available in the main dining rooms and buffet; cruisers with other special dietary requests should let the cruise line know ahead of time
  • Room service is available 24 hours a day; while morning coffee and continental breakfast is free, all other orders incur a $9.95 charge; passengers staying in The Haven receive complimentary room service

Food on Norwegian Epic is good, and you don't need to splurge on extra-fee dining options if you simply want a tasty meal. Service, on the other hand, can be a touch patchy.

Speciality food-lovers can dine out for less by purchasing the Specialty Dining Package, which can be bought online or onboard.

Free Dining

Taste (Deck 5) and Manhattan Room (Deck 6) Restaurants
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

Taste and the Manhattan Room are Norwegian Epic's main dining rooms. Taste is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the Manhattan Room is only open for dinner. The Manhattan Room has more character than Taste with an Art Deco-inspired New York Supper club feel and a polished dance floor (where professional dancers, rather than passengers, perform three times a week).

Both have open seating -- there are no fixed early or late seatings for dinner.

Breakfast features everything you'd expect in the morning; if you're heading off on a shore excursion, or time is at a premium, opt for the handy express breakfast. Lunch features a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to burgers and sandwiches.

At night, tables are set up for two, four, six or eight people (with larger tables available on request). As there are few two-tops, couples are likely to end up dining with other passengers. The main dinner menu, which is the same in both venues, always features a wide choice of American and international standards, served with a dash of contemporary flair. There is always a vegetarian option.

Garden Cafe (Deck 15)
Meals: B, L, D

Epic's casual dining buffet is a bright area with great views, a logical layout and plenty of made-to-order food stations. Although the ship was pretty full during our cruise, we never had a problem finding a seat, even if it took a bit of looking around. It's worth the walk to find a quieter spot, particularly in the attractive section that stretches across the front of the vessel.

You'll find a full breakfast spread and a lunch that features all manner of options, including excellent Asian and Indian food sections. Food is clearly marked for vegetarians. Dinner is similarly expansive, and there's always a different culinary theme each night at one of the buffet stations, such as "Taste of Asia" or a Mediterranean extravaganza.

O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill (Deck 6)
Meals: B, L, D

O'Sheehan's is always popular and features an emphasis on American favourites and comfort food. It's a nice breakfast alternative to the buffet and dining room but can get busy at lunch and dinner.

Shanghai's Noodle Bar (Deck 6)
Meals: L, D

This bar is the casual sidekick of the adjoining Chinese restaurant of the same name. Seating 15, the venue makes it easy to order: Simply tick the boxes of your choice on the order form, hand it over and wait for the chefs to prepare fresh and tasty noodles, dim sum and stir-fried dishes.

Shanghai (Deck 6):
Meals: D

This dinner-only restaurant serves a selection of pan-Asian fare.

Great Outdoors (Deck 15)
Meals: B, L, Snacks

Steps from the Garden Cafe, and almost poolside, is the Great Outdoors. This extension of the main buffet offers easy access to well-spaced tables, tucked under attractive tent-like canopies.

Spice H2O (Deck 15)
Meals: L, D

On certain days, this adults-only complex offers a lunchtime buffet and from 6 p.m. daily it serves light appetizers.

Pricing was accurate at time of review, but may have changed since.

Le Bistro (Deck 5); a la carte
Meals: D

Savour a taste of France in Le Bistro, a high-end formal and intimate dining venue. The large menu lists the dishes in French, with the English translation beneath. Good luck getting to dessert; the appetizers and entrees are rich and filling.

Cagney's (Deck 7); a la carte
Meals: D

Norwegian's signature restaurant is Cagney's Steakhouse, which shares space with Moderno Churrascaria at the back of the ship. There are some fish dishes, but it's not the place for vegetarians. Two words: Go hungry.

Moderno Churrascaria (Deck 7); $29.95
Meals: D

Across from Cagney's, passadors hauling towering skewers of beef and other carnivore cravings make the rounds at Moderno, an all-you-can-eat meat-fest. Diners are handed a green (for go) chip to put on the table to signal they want more, along with a red chip when they want to halt the feast, perhaps to rustle up some greenery from the large salad buffet.

Teppanyaki (Deck 7); $29.95
Meals: D

Culinary art is the name of the game at Japanese hibachi eatery Teppanyaki. Cruisers sit around a cooking station while the chef serves up equal amounts of food and theatrical effects, including juggling, jokes, singing and other antics.

Yakitori & Sushi (Deck 7); a la carte
Meals: D

If Teppanyaki is not your style, then stop off at the 20-seat a la carte sushi and sashimi bar at the entrance and enjoy Japanese delights in more serene surrounds.

La Cucina (Deck 14); a la carte
Meals: D

Accessed via stairs from the Garden Cafe or an elevator close to the aft cabins on Deck 14, this Italian restaurant is tucked out of the way, and a lovely surprise (once you find it). More casual than Le Bistro and Cagney's it, nevertheless, makes for a nice date-night venue.

 

 

  • Room categories include: solo, inside, balcony, mini-suite, spa, The Haven suites
  • Families have limited options: cramped family insides (128 square feet), connecting balcony rooms, mini-suites and two-bedroom Family Suites in The Haven suite complex
  • Epic has 42 wheelchair-accessible rooms with collapsible shower stools, arm guards and lowered sinks
  • Extensive suite offerings via the exclusive The Haven complex; lots of suite perks make Epic attractive to suite cruisers

Epic's cabin design is unique within the cruise industry. For starters, every outside cabin has a balcony; it also boasts 128 Studios, inside rooms sized and priced for solo cruisers. Most of the cabins (the exception being insides, villas and some suites) also feature a funky "wave" design that people either love or hate -- think curvy walls and rounded queen-sized beds.

The revolutionary bathrooms -- which split the toilet and shower into two separate units, and put the stand-alone wash basin in the main cabin space -- aren't particularly popular (and the line never repeated the design on any other ships). With doors that are translucent, it's a bit awkward if you're travelling with anyone who is not your partner, though couples and travelling companions of a nervous disposition can pull across a drape that effectively shuts off the bathroom area from the rest of the cabin.

One note: Cabins feature a range of lovely lighting effects, including concealed LEDs and backlights. These can appear baffling at first, so check the helpful information card placed in every cabin.

Standard amenities in all cabins include daily steward service and evening turn-down, two twin beds that convert to a queen (except in Studio rooms), a TV, good quality hair dryer, coffee maker, vanity/writing desk and stool. There is ample wardrobe and storage space, along with plenty of mirrors. All rooms have both U.S. and European electrical sockets, but note the plugs are hidden in a cupboard beneath the desk/vanity unit.

Bathrooms feature fixed dispensers filled with liquid soap and combined shampoo/conditioner. A nifty design touch in the bathroom is a concealed basket for used towels beneath the sink (so well hidden that it took us a couple of days to discover it).

Suite passengers have additional benefits, including enhanced toiletries, a bathrobe and slippers, Champagne on arrival and priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Solo: The 128 Studio cabins are each 100 square feet, have a full-sized bed, full bathroom and plenty of storage space for a solo cruiser. The Studio rooms are all located in a two-deck complex (Decks 11 and 12) that also features an exclusive lounge, all of which can only be accessed by keycard.

Interior: The inside cabins all measure 128 square feet. Family inside cabins are located on Decks 13 and 14, near the children's area, and have two pull-down beds.

Balcony: These cabins measure 188 to 251 square feet and can accommodate up to four people. They have panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows leading to balconies that range in size from 37 to 100 square feet. Particularly attractive are the aft cabins with views over the ship's wake.

Mini-suite: These cabins measure 241 to 245 square feet, with balconies measuring 52 to 56 square feet. They feature a luxury bathroom with shower or tub, and a drape can be drawn to separate the sleeping and living areas.

Spa: People staying in Epic's spa cabins get complimentary access to the ship's thermal suite, located inside the spa. Situated on Deck 14, the balcony spa cabins measure 203 to 230 square feet, with 52- to 79-square-foot balconies. Mini-suite spa staterooms are 241 to 245 square feet, with 52- to 56-square-foot balconies. Both of these cabin categories can accommodate up to three people, but it should be noted that passengers under the age of 18 are not allowed in the ship's thermal suite.

At 322 square feet, The Haven spa suites are the largest spa cabins and accommodate two passengers. They feature a queen-sized circular bed, an ensuite hot tub, butler and concierge service and access to The Haven's private pool, lounge, restaurant and bar.

The Haven: The Haven is a 60-suite "ship-within-a-ship" complex and an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the main decks. Located on Decks 16 and 17, the space also includes a private pool, two whirlpools, a gym, a sun deck and a private restaurant. All Haven passengers benefit from butler service and private amenities including a pool, a sun deck, a lounge, a restaurant, a bar and a gym.

Courtyard Penthouse: The smallest suites in The Haven, these cabins are 319 to 322 square feet, have balconies that measure 81 to 84 square feet and hold just two people.

Family Villas: These two-bedroom suites are 504 square feet, have two bathrooms, a living room and a dining area and can accommodate up to six people. The balcony measures 54 square feet.

Owner's Suite: The ultimate splurge is the Owner's Suite, which accommodates up to four people and measures 852 square feet with a balcony of 121 square feet. It features a separate bedroom with a king-sized bed, a living room, a separate dining area and a bathroom with a separate shower and a whirlpool tub.

 

Deck 5
Deck 6
Deck 7
Deck 8
Deck 9
Deck 10
Deck 11
Deck 12
Deck 13
Deck 14
Deck 15
Deck 16
Decks 19, 18 and 17

Best for...

Active families, picky eaters, and couples/groups who love to bar hop

Not the best for...

People who can't stand crowds, or those seeking a relaxed onboard environment

Who goes on Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ships?

Norwegian cruise ships draw a diverse crowd, though the majority of passengers on ships sailing to the Caribbean and in Alaska and Hawaii hail from North America. You'll find a decent number of people from other English-speaking countries, and smaller numbers from South America and Europe. On European cruises, North Americans still dominate but you'll find more people from the United Kingdom and other European countries. You'll find plenty of young families onboard Norwegian ships, especially during holidays and school breaks. However, the line's newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, is less family-friendly than the line's other ships, with all the kids clubs on the lowest levels of the ship and onboard entertainment that is decidedly adult. Generally speaking, Norwegian Cruise Line attracts mostly middle-aged and older couples, as well as groups of friends of all ages.


Do I have to dress up on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise?

Norwegian Cruise Line maintains a casual atmosphere onboard; during the day, casual wear is the norm. There's no formal dress code at night either, though most people do change into something slightly less casual for dinner. Additionally, some of the speciality extra-fee restaurants do require long pants, collared shirts and closed-toe shoes. Most evenings you'll see men in dark jeans or khakis and collared shirts, and women in blouses with slacks or skirts, or sundresses. Don't be surprised if you see people in shorts in the main dining rooms. Norwegian doesn't have any formal nights, but there is an optional Norwegian's Night Out at least once per sailing, for which passengers are encouraged to dress up. You'll rarely see a tux or gown, but suits and cocktail dresses are not unheard of. Norwegian ships also typically hold several themed nights (glow party, '70s or '80s, etc.) during a typical sailing. You might want to bring a few appropriate items, such as white clothing for the glow and white parties or bell bottoms for '70s night.


Is everything free on Norwegian Cruise Line cruises?

No. Unless you have an all-inclusive dining or beverage package (which you can buy), you'll have to pay extra for most gratuities, speciality dining, room service, all drinks (alcoholic and non, except water, select juices at breakfast, and coffee and tea), shore excursions, visits to the spa and any retail purchases, including photos. On the newest ships, you'll also have to pay for some of the entertainment options and even some of the top-deck fun: On Norwegian Bliss, for example, the laser tag and go-karts cost extra.


What are Norwegian Cruise Line's most popular activities?

On warm-weather cruises, the main pool is the line's most popular spot onboard. On ships with water slides, ropes courses, go-kart tracks and laser tag, these are also popular and often require a wait of up to 30 minutes or more. Inside, you'll find activities that range from trivia, bingo and Deal or No Deal during the day to song-and-dance revues or Broadway shows in the theatre and live music or cabaret shows in the evening. Norwegian ships also have a lively bar nightlife. There's also an always-busy casino, which opens when the ship is out to sea.


Prices based on:

Inside
Inside

  • Sleeps up to 2
  • Convertible queen-size bed
  • Sitting area
  • Unique bathroom treatment where every area is separate, including the shower and modern vanity sink
  • Approximate size 11 sq. m
  • Cat Cabin Grade
    Cruise

    Balcony
    Balcony

  • Sleeps up to 3
  • Convertible queen-size bed
  • Sitting area
  • Curved walls for a sense of greater space
  • Unique bathroom treatment where every area is separate, including the shower and modern vanity sink
  • Large private balcony with stunning views
  • Approximate size 17-33 sq. m. Balcony size approximately 3-12 sq. m
  • Cat Cabin Grade
    Cruise

    Club Balcony Suite
    Club Balcony Suite

  • Club Balcony Suites typically offer a little more space than Balcony Staterooms. All feature two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed
  • Sleeps up to 3
  • Convertible queen-size bed
  • Sitting area
  • Extra bedding available to sleep 3rd guest
  • Luxury bathroom with bath or shower
  • Private balcony
  • Some connect with adjacent staterooms
  • Approximate size 22-28sq. m. Balcony size approximately 5-7 sq. m
  • Cat Cabin Grade
    Cruise

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