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Trip Report Norwegian Epic

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I was able to sail on the 2-night inaugural sailing of Norwegian Epic this past weekend, and I'll be posting a fuller report on the site soon (either Tuesday or Wednesday), but I wanted to offer some initial thoughts here. My reactions are definitely mixed. It's a beautiful, innovative ship in many ways, and yet it carries all the missteps that NCL is known for (expansive yet insufficient pool areas, bottlenecks and crowding around popular bars and restaurants, and wildly flawed and smallish cabins).

Yet the positives are so positive that I hardly know where to begin. I loved the entertainment and thought it was better than anything I've ever encountered on a cruise ship; yet I think traditional cruisers are going to be greatly disappointed at a theater that holds only 1/4 of the total ship's passengers and the requirement that you pre-book most entertainment (without a reservation, you're out of luck). Management really want to get away from the idea of running from the dining room to the show every night. I'm sympathetic, but there are going to be very loud gripes from traditional cruisers.

There are such a variety of good restaurants that you really don't need to feel that you have to pay a sometimes hefty (overly so in a few cases) surcharge to eat in the specialty restaurants. And the food is pretty good over all.

I don't know where to begin with the cabins, so I'll save most of what I have to say for my review, but the bathroom situation is a true mixed bag. And I found that I really (and viscerally) hated the set-up by the end of two nights. I'm not sure if I'd get over it or just hate it more after a week. The cabins are also too small. Yet they have the best and most extensive storage I've ever seen on a ship, and the lighting (once you figured it out) was among the best schemes I've ever encountered. A really innovative television system is marred by a teensy and disappointing choice of channels.

The best of ships and the worst of ships, and I'll tell you more in the coming days. And if I have missed anything in my review, you can post here and ask me questions or in the Comments section of the review when it appears.

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