All Aboard the Norwegian Epic
“I never realized it before,” says Matt, watching the Statue of Liberty drift out of sight, “but I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise.”
And really, that’s the meat of it. You’ve got a rum punch sweating on the balcony, a blissfully open itinerary, and zero pressure to do anything except enjoy yourself–an easy task when you’re on a ship as well-equipped as the Norwegian Epic.
Just look at this thing!
Even inside, the ship is spacious–a honeycomb of richly-appointed dining rooms, chandeliered lounges, and restaurants serving everything from sushi (Teppanyaki) to steak (Cagney’s Steakhouse). Shanghai’s banana pancake dessert was especially decadent, but was devoured before a photo could be taken. You can admire the lush red dining area instead:
For after-dinner aperitifs, Shakers Martini Bar was my absolute go-to, serving up Manhattans and Mudslides with a side of crooner classics by the handsome Bernie Martini. The bar’s convenient proximity to the casinos also made for some exciting times at the blackjack tables, wherein I won and lost the same two chips for nearly an hour. Who needs luck when you have consistency?
Waking late on the second day, I put on my bikini, self-consciously checked my lack of tan in the mirror, and hopped on the elevator to the sundeck. Here, the thick New York sunshine poured like syrup into the pools, and I spent a good hour making up for a Vitamin D-deficient summer in San Francisco. Eventually, I remembered what I was actually on the top deck for:
Oh, yes. A full-on trio of waterslides–including one with innertubes! I was secretly excited that there weren’t many kids on the cruise. Not because I don’t like kids, but because I’m bad at sharing.
Don’t worry. There are nice, grown-up things you can decide not to share as well! These plush, pillow-strewn sun sofas are part of the exclusive Courtyard pool area, for Courtyard Villa, Penthouse, and Owner Suite guests only.
And no discussion of the Norwegian Epic would be complete without a mention of the Svedka Ice Bar. If you aren’t appreciating the gorgeous sundeck and beautiful weather properly, prescribe yourself 20 minutes in this frozen fantasy room. Granted–the disco-hued drinks and big polar bear ice sculpture might actually convince you that cold is better, but I can’t be held responsible for that.
Do I need to list more reasons I loved this ship? It has onboard bowling, a very clever improv troupe, more bars than you will ever need to drink at, and so many helpful signs that even people with no sense of direction whatsoever (me) can find their way to the buffet. Truly an Epic experience.
Oh–and if you decide, after reading all this, that you’ve also always wanted to go on a cruise, now’s a great time to take advantage of the Cruise Bonus Days sale at Travelocity!
Photo credits (top to bottom): “Norwegian Epic” by Genevieve Brown; “Shanghai’s on the Epic” by cubechick; “Shakers Martini Bar Deck 7″ by Franz Golhen; “Epic Plunge” by Franz Golhen; “Courtyard Lounging” by Matt Holmes; “Ice Bar Norwegian Epic” by Cathieo.
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.