Norwegian Epic – the thought, that I am travelling with 4,099 other cruise guests from Barcelona across Naples to Rome let me become thoughtful for a moment. The small village, in that I have grown up, counts about 7,000 inhabitants. Almost two third of them would fit into the ship! I was excited about the ship of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and at the end of the tour I left the ship quite relaxed.
At the port of Barcelona was a lively going-on as next to the Norwegian Epic five more cruises were lying in the port. At first glance, the Epic is not a very beautiful ship. It seems as if the constructors forgot a piece in their planning. And finally, this piece has been put as a square on top of the bow. That exactly this square is the exclusive piece “The Haven” must be the irony of fate; but more on this later.
On this route in the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is a port of loading and unloading. And thus, the crew was busy with checking in new guests and carrying the luggage on board. Once one is on board he or she could sniff the air of the ship and enjoy the Spanish sun. According to the motto “Feel Free” NCL promises a special cruise experience. There is no dress code, no fixed meal times, no reserved tables (except for reservations in the theme restaurants) and – for German guests – no stress regarding the selection of drinks. With the exclusive “Premium All Inclusive”, all drinks up to US$ 15 and the usual compulsory tip for the crew are included.
Three water slides on board of the Norwegian Epic
What stands out at first sight: The shipping company implemented various ideas to keep guests busy while staying on board. On the Epic there is an aqua park that includes three water slides, a fitness centre, an outdoor jacuzzi, a climbing and abseiling wall, a bowling alley, a kid’s centre, a teen disco and a huge casino area.
A lot of establishments on the mainland can draw some inspiration from the entertainment programme that is displayed in various bars and theatres in the evening. In particular, the “Cirque Dreams® & Dinner” would receive the predicate “world class” from me. No hosts that entertain guests during the day have to take care of the evening entertainment on the Epic. Here, world-class artists perform 90 minutes of pure excitement so that the guests almost forget about their meals. The ensemble takes part in a kind of round tent in which the artists present their tricks. “Pomp Duck and Circumstance” and “Cirque du Soleil” send their regards and the show at the Norwegian Epic plays in the same league.
People who enjoy improvised music, can listen to “Howl at the Moon” at the bar “Headliners” a few times per week. Accompanied by a drummer, two pianos fight a duel with each other to different rock classic songs of the 70ties up to Hip Hop. The audience can give wishes on little notes and musicians will interpret those songs in their special way. A music festival of a particular nature.
“The Haven” – VIP-Feeling at the Norwegian Epic
With the area “The Haven” at the Norwegian Epic there is a ship-in-ship complex on board that is exclusively reserved for guests to enjoy the VIP-Feeling on board. Other passengers do not have access to that area, which disposes of its own pool, jacuzzi, fitness area, various dining areas as well as the service of Courtyard Butler. The suites and villas of “The Haven” are available in different type and size and, all of them dispose of a balcony. One who is looking for a quiet place at the Epic and is willing to reach deeper into his or her pocket will certainly be in good hands at “The Haven”.
A kitchen area for 4.100 guests
With the 23 restaurants the kitchen faces a huge challenge every day. From an elegant dinner through buffets up to live-cooking stations – there are various opportunities to eat on board. Notably, the exclusive specialty restaurants (for an additional charge) offer an outstanding quality. A huge challenge for the kitchen that overtakes a large part on the ship. All 23 restaurants are serviced by only one area in which there is a hectic atmosphere nearly all day long. The area also includes its own bakery and confectionary.
First and only land excursion – Naples!
The first port of this cruise is Naples. The Norwegian Epic arrives at the port of Italy’s third biggest city early in the morning hours. While most of the guests are still sleeping at this time, early birds enjoy a wonderful sunrise over Naples. The capital city of Campania offers a lot of culture, restaurants and shopping stores (tip: Via Toledo). On my only land excursion of this short journey, I decide to take a tour to Pompeii. The only town at the Gulf of Naples has been completely buried by lava and thus preserved well after the volcanic eruption on 24 August 79.
Only in the 16th century the legend of that time became reality when some coins and nature marble pieces were found randomly. But still, it took up to the 18th century until one began with the original excavations and thereby with the uncovering of the city. Today about four fifths of the old city area have been exempted of lava. Friends of archaeology get their money’s worth as Pompeii teems of ruins. Every year around three millions of people are visiting the city in that a lot of buildings currently get restored. Rain, wind and sun obviously had a powerful impact during the past decades.
One who still has time should visit a typical pizzeria in Naples as today’s version of tomato sauce and cheese is probably originated from this city. Nowhere on earth Pizza Napoletana tastes as good as in Italy.
Back from the land excursion and from Pompeii; at 6 p.m. it is already time to say goodbye. The Norwegian Epic takes course for port Rome, called Civitavecchia and around one hour away from the airport.
Hinweis: Die Reise erfolgte auf Einladung!