In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 11, Norwegian Epic made her first journey on water, cruising out of her construction quay at STX Europe in Saint-Nazaire, France where the 153,000-ton ship has been under construction since October 2007. Beginning at approximately 7 am, the massive 4,200 passenger ship was accompanied by a fleet of six tugboats and taken a short distance down the Loire Estuary. Within about one and a half hours, the ship was moored at the outfitting dock. Norwegian Epic’s float out represented a major milestone in the vessel’s construction as it indicates that the ship has now moved into the final phase of construction and work will begin immediately on the vessel’s interiors.
“Watching Norwegian Epic make her first journey on the water was a very moving experience,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer.
“Norwegian Epic epitomizes our continued commitment to innovation and represents the next generation of Freestyle Cruising, so we are thrilled to be celebrating her float out and looking forward to her delivery in less than a year.”
On hand for the occasion were Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chairman of the board and also chairman, president and chief executive of the Genting Group; Norwegian Cruise Line executives: Kevin Sheehan, chief executive officer; Roberto Martinoli, president and chief operating officer; and Andy Stuart, executive vice president, global sales and passenger services, as well as Sang-Ho Shin, president and chief executive officer, STX Europe; and Jacques Hardelay, general manager, STX Europe, France.
Norwegian Epic is scheduled to be delivered in late May 2010, and will take part in inaugural events before beginning her Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from her year-round homeport in Miami. The first Eastern Caribbean sailing from Miami is scheduled for July 17, 2010 and the ship’s alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries are scheduled through April 2011.
Norwegian Epic’s Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes calls in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship’s Western Caribbean itinerary includes calls in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. Guests can make a reservation by contacting their travel professional or Norwegian Cruise Line at 866-234-7350. More information about the ship, her itineraries and offerings can be found at epic.ncl.com.
Norwegian Epic’s Innovations & Features
Norwegian Epic is changing the face of cruise line entertainment. In another industry first, Blue Man Group will perform in the ship’s 685-seat Epic Theater. Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The blissful party atmosphere created at their live events has become the trademark of a Blue Man Group experience and will be seen for the first time ever at sea only on Norwegian Epic.
Norwegian Epic will have multiple, specially-designed entertainment venues throughout the ship so that guests can choose from a wide variety of entertainment each evening of their cruise. No longer will entertainment be focused on two nightly shows in one large main theater. Norwegian Epic will offer a number of entertainment options in specially-designed venues, some offered for the first time ever at sea, with choices to appeal to a broad audience.
On this ship, guests will find the only “big top” at sea. In this 265-seat theater-in-the-round, famed producer/director Neil Goldberg will present Cirque Dreams® and Dinner. This one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience will be performed in the air, while juggling dinner courses, with music, mayhem and acrobatic imagination. During this two-hour show, guests will marvel in amazement and become part of a celebration of spectacle and fantasy. The entire experience will be unlike anything else at sea.
Norwegian Epic will offer the next generation of Freestyle Dining with 17 dining choices and 18 bars and lounges. The ship also boasts unique nightlife options with the first Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20 with non-stop entertainment day and night; an expansive Aqua Park with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea -- The Epic Plunge; seven decks of Freestyle Family Fun with highlights including a 33-foot high, 64-foot wide extreme rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; the most bowling lanes at sea with six in two venues; a mixed-use sports deck with the ability for guests to engage in eight different athletic activities; as well as three separate kids’ and teen activity areas and the first squash court at sea.
Norwegian Epic incorporates several new types of accommodations – the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest ship-within-a-ship suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship; a new category of inside staterooms for the value-conscious traveler – The Studios and Living Room; and spa and family-friendly accommodations.-7350.