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Quadruple Decked! NORWEGIAN EPIC, Part One: Villa Complex

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010 by

The first in a whopping four Decked! installments covers the NORWEGIAN EPIC’s ship-within-a-ship Villa Complex. The massive block-like structure atop the bridge was conceived from the inside out, which explains why it is so unapologetically angular.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Dawning Of A New Norwegian Epoch: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC Sea Treks Blog by Peter Knego

Quadruple Decked!, Part Two: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 19 to 14

Quadruple Decked!, Part Three: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 13 to 7

Quadruuple Decked!, Part Four: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 6 and 5

Builders: STX Europe, Saint-Nazaire, France

Gross Tonnage: 153,000

Length: 1,081 Feet

Beam: 133 Feet

Draft: 28.5 Feet

Speed: 22 Knots

Passenger Decks: 15

Passenger Capacity: 4,100 (double), Approximately 5,000 (all berths filled)

Crew: 1,708


Brief History: The NORWEGIAN EPIC was conceived as the first of three F3 (Freestyle 3) cruise ships for NCL.  Unlike the prior generation of NCL’s STAR and GEM or “F2″ class of ships, which were enlarged versions of co-parent company Star Cruises’ SUPERSTAR LEO (now NORWEGIAN SPIRIT) and SUPERSTAR VIRGO, the EPIC represents a completely new and unique blueprint for both the line and the cruise industry at large.  40% larger than the German-built “F2’s”, the EPIC has introduced a number of innovative and/or controversial new concepts in dining/entertainment and accommodation that sets her apart from anything else afloat.

F3 keel laying at STX Europe.

The keel was laid on April 24, 2008 in a special ceremony at STX that was also an opportunity to showcase the new “wave” cabin mock ups, featuring curved bulkheads and controversial “en suite” sinks and toilet/shower layouts.  Shortly thereafter, renderings of the EPIC’s unapologetically squared-off profile were released, stirring much speculation about the vessel’s stability and overall aesthetics.  Gradually, over the next two years, a staged “reveal” of NORWEGIAN EPIC’s facilities was fed to the travel industry.  The option for the third ship was never taken and due to rising costs, NCL canceled the order for the second ship after a protracted legal battle with the beleaguered shipyard.

NORWEGIAN EPIC commemorative keel laying coins.

As the vessel neared completion in early May 2010, a fire swept through the Deck 4 provisioning area before being extinguished. Two more fires of a suspicious nature hit shortly thereafter, leading to a police inquiry.  NORWEGIAN EPIC was delivered to NCL on June 17, 2010 and sailed to Rotterdam to begin the first in a series of inaugural cruises.  As with most newbuilds, initial glitches included wiring, plumbing and pool deck malfunctions and a problem with the ship’s propeller shaft bearing that slowed her crossing from Rotterdam to the U.K. In Southampton, a short introductory cruise was truncated so a spare bearing could be fitted, enabling the EPIC to make her scheduled maiden transatlantic crossing without incident.

NORWEGIAN EPIC approaches the Statue of Liberty. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2010.

The NORWEGIAN EPIC arrived in New York on the morning of July 1, 2010, clearing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge by a mere 24 inches before proceeding up the Hudson to discharge the first five of her starboard tenders so she could fit into the berth at Pier 88 in the midtown passenger terminal.  The ship is the largest ever to berth at the Manhattan facility.

NORWEGIAN EPIC towers over Manhattan's Pier 88.

A two night inaugural cruise introducing the US $1.1 billion ship to American media and travel agents (during which the following photos were taken) departed on July 2.  When the EPIC returned on July 4, she was used as the setting for the Annual Macy’s Fireworks show, then sailed on July 5 for Miami, where she undertook another inaugural cruise before beginning regular 7 day alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruise service.

For now, it looks as though the EPIC will be the only ship of her kind — an announcement regarding two enlarged STAR Class vessels to be constructed by the Papenburg-based Meyer Werft shipyard is anticipated in the near future.

Villa Complex

Like her STAR and GEM class predecessors, the NORWEGIAN EPIC features an exclusive “ship within a ship” Villa complex with private sunning areas, fitness center, lounge, grill and concierge services. The block spans from Deck 19 down to Deck 16 atop the forward superstructure, giving the ship its uniquely “stacked” appearance.  Our Decked! tour of the EPIC begins with a look at the Villa complex area and several of its suites.

Deck 19

Port Deck 19, facing aft.

Facing aft from Posh Sundeck (19).

The port side of forward Deck 19 features the upper level of the Posh Sun Deck with its large cushioned wicker seating and views over the midships pool area and Deck 18 terrace of the al fresco Posh Beach Club.

Please click on image to see a larger version.  All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2010 unless otherwise noted.

Deck 18

Courtyard Sundeck (18), facing starboard.

Courtyard Pool and Spa, facing aft from Deck 18.

The Courtyard portion of Deck 18 begins with a terrace overlooking the Courtyard Pool and Spa on Deck 16.

Posh Club, facing starboard.

The 5,499 square foot Posh Beach Club is located in the aft portion of the Villa Complex on Deck 18. It offers a view over the midships pool area under shaded canopies with access to an al fresco bar. At night, it becomes an exclusive open air disco catering to 175 Villa and Suite guests.

Deck 17

Courtyard Spa Fitness Center.

Courtyard Spa Concierge Lounge top level, facing aft.

Totally random Concierge Lounge carpet shot.

Courtyard Spa Concierge Lounge top level, facing forward.

Courtyard Spa Concierge Lounge lower level, facing forward.

The two deck Concierge Lounge is located in the aft portion of the Villa block on Decks 17 and 16.

Deck 16

Courtyard Pool and Spa area, facing aft/starboard.

Courtyard Pool and Spa area facing forward.

The Courtyard Pool and Spa area contains a pool, two whirlpools, plush deck chairs, private cabanas, a bar and a steam room.

Courtyard Pool and Spa Promenade, facing aft.

Courtyard Pool and Spa Promenade, facing forward.

The 38 seat, 1,765 square foot al fresco Courtyard Grill is a slightly more informal adjunct to the Epic Club.

Epic Club, facing forward.

Epic Club, facing aft.

The 70 seat, 2,098 square foot Epic Club is located in the aft/port section of the Villa Complex. For the exclusive use of Villa and Suite guests, it is open for breakfast and lunch. The decor is in warm earth tones, infused with light through full length windows. Pearl curtains give the space a somewhat exotic effect.

Epic Club Lounge, facing starboard.

Epic Club Lounge, facing port.

The Club Lounge is on the starboard side of the Epic Club.

Courtyard Suite Accommodation

Deluxe Owner’s Suite (Forward)

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 living room, facing port.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 living room, facing starboard/aft.

Measuring up to 852 square feet, eight Deluxe Owner’s Suites are the NORWEGIAN EPIC’s most posh accommodation. They feature large living/dining rooms with floor to ceiling windows, flat screen televisions with CD/DVD players, BOSE entertainment centers, cherry wood furnishings, refrigerator and tea/espresso makers.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 bedroom, facing forward.

Owner’s Suite bedrooms include king beds, flat screen televisions with CD/DVD players and libraries,

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 bathroom, facing forward.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 shower.

Owner’s suites also have granite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and separate showers, as well as his and hers “powder” areas. Separate guest bathrooms are also featured.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17004 balcony, facing aft.

Forward-facing Owner’s Suites have a glass-enclosed solarium overlooking the bow and a separate balcony on the side.

Deluxe Owner’s Suite (Sides and Aft)

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 sitting area, facing aft.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 sitting area, facing forward.

Suite details.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 bedroom, facing starboard.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 master bathroom.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 guest bathroom.

Deluxe Owner's Suite 17032 balcony, facing port.

Courtyard Villa Suite (Forward — with Solarium versus Balcony)

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 sitting area, facing forward.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 sitting area, facing aft.

Forty Six Courtyard Villa Suites measure up to 506 square feet and can sleep up to five guests. The living and dining area features a cappuccino/espresso maker, mini-bar, flat screen TV with CD/DVD player and library.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 bedroom, facing port/fwd.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 bedroom, facing forward.

Courtyard Villa Suites have two bedrooms, including a master bedroom with flat screen TV and CD/DVD player.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 second bedroom, facing starboard/aft.

There is also a second, smaller children’s bedroom.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 solarium, facing forward.

Forward-facing Courtyard Villa Suites have solariums that overlook the bow. In calm conditions, windows can be opened for fresh air.

Courtyard Villa Suite 1700 main bathroom, facing forward.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 main w/c shower/bath.

Courtyard Villa Suite 17000 main w/c loo.

In the forward-facing Courtyard Villa suites, the larger of two bathrooms overlooks the bow.

Courtyard Villa Suite 1700 smaller bathroom.

Separate smaller bathrooms are also part of the Courtyard Villa Suite facilities.

Courtyard Penthouse With Balcony

Courtyard Penthouse Suite 17009, facing port.

Courtyard Penthouse Suite 17009, facing starboard.

Six 322 square foot Courtyard Penthouse Suites feature a large bedroom with circular queen sized bed, flat screen TV with CD/DVD player and library.

Courtyard Penthouse Suite 17009 tub area.

There is also a separate tub in addition to the shower.

Courtyard Penthouse Suite 17009 loo.

Courtyard Penthouse 17009 balcony, facing aft.

Penthouses also have large balconies.

Spa Deluxe Balcony Staterooms

There are 21 Deluxe Spa Balcony cabins measuring 245 square feet. Although not shown in the Spa class, they are similar to the regular Deluxe Balcony cabins featured in a later part of this Decked! feature. With a zen-inspired decor, occupants of these cabins have key access to the EPIC’s Thermal Suite in the Mandara Spa.

Spa Balcony Staterooms

Spa Balcony Cabin 14121, facing starboard.

Spa Balcony Cabin 14121, facing port.

Ten 216 square foot Spa Balcony Cabins feature tub and shower as well as key access to the Thermal Suite. Two twin or queen bed configuration available with separate sitting area featuring flatscreen TV, coffee maker and mini-bar.

Spa Balcony Cabin 14121 shower.

End of Quadruple Decked!  NORWEGIAN EPIC, Part One:  Villa Complex

Norwegian Cruise Line

Dawning Of A New Norwegian Epoch: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC Sea Treks Blog by Peter Knego

Quadruple Decked!, Part Two: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 19 to 14

Quadruple Decked!, Part Three: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 13 to 7

Quadruuple Decked!, Part Four: MV NORWEGIAN EPIC, Decks 6 and 5

15 Responses to Quadruple Decked! NORWEGIAN EPIC, Part One: Villa Complex

  1. Patrick Le Bihan

    July 13, 2010 at 3:37 am

    No news from the beginning ultra sceptic people (Ugly ship etc….)? Are they dreaming to cruise on EPIC ?? Me i will do from Barcelone in May 2011.

  2. david templae

    July 13, 2010 at 3:40 am

    great pictures peter saw more than i saw on 1nt. hope you are well?

  3. Glenn Paull

    July 13, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Thanks Peter for such excellent coverage. I wondered what the owners suites were like. I wish they hadn’t used so many of those glass ornamental squares on the bulkheads I think they are tacky and they used them it appears, in every cabin. Her lines grow on you, as i’ve said before she is BIG-BOLD and BEAUTIFUL.

  4. John Pepper

    July 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Accomodations in the suites look fantastic. Fortunately, no one in the suites can see the behemoth from the outside. Still, an unusually ugly ship.

  5. Peter Beverley

    July 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I certainly wouldn’t choose to cruise on the Epic. She is just too ugly for me. Yes she looks good on the inside, but she merely represents any hotel to be found on land. She doesn’t represent a ship – there’s nothing ‘ship-like’ about her. She is a floating tower-block set for a predetermined market: I’m not in that market. I’d much rather have a real ship like the Mona Lisa, Saga Ruby, or a smaller more intimate vessel like the Oriana.

  6. Croix Picoriello, LMT

    July 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Despite the ungainly appearance from the outside, the photos you have posted certainly got a continuous “wow” out of me every time I scrolled down. The interiors seem to harken back to the ships of old when the furnishings and every detail was designed to be new and fresh and exciting. Dare I compare her to the Normandie?? (that should stir up some hot emotions)

    While there are definitely parts of her that dont seem to work well like the sinks and the bathroom spaces, the ship definitely has more “wow” than blah.. I hope she does well…

  7. Mage Bailey

    July 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    She is stunning, and you have done a magnificent job of showing her off. Thank you.

  8. Ed V.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    NO ONE should ever compare ANY of todays ships to the Normandie. She was a work of art, a beauty to behold and arguably the most beautiful ship EVER built. The Epic on the other hand is undoubtedly the mose god awful ugly thing ever built. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then we should all be blind. I only hope that Norwegian Cruiseline NEVER decides to reactivate the F3 project and build the other 1 or possibly 2 other ships. 1 sea monster is enough. I thought that Princess Cruises Grand Princess was the ugliest ship to take to the waters when she was launched but compared to the Epic she wins the beauty contest hands down

  9. Anthony Ward

    July 14, 2010 at 2:46 am

    You know what? She’s actually growing on me. Or, maybe I’m just getting used to her look by now. Just like i am with the double-decker A380. I couldn’t accept that plane in the beginning either, but now it seems more normal to me.

    You have to admit the interiors of the Epic are gorgeous!

    Maybe NCL knew what they were doing afterall!


  10. Peter Newall

    July 14, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Brilliant coverage Peter aka Mr Liner Moderne.

    You have also highlighted the fantastic variety of interesting aspects to this wonderful ship. What you cannot show is the atmospere aboard, the easy passenger flow and the great buzz. Added to this is the sheer variety of food venues and amazing entertainment, especially the bizarre Blue Man group. I have seen them all over the years from the 1920s Arundel Castle, Andes, Gripsholm to Caronia the Green Goddess etc but this ship in a league of its own………..stuff the past – I am a now a proud Epicurist!

  11. Dave Rist

    July 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Well done. I enjoyed your display of the cabins. I was reminded of how large she is while doing our cabin crawl during the TA from Southhampton. Seven sea days and I still hadn’t seen everything. I anticipate a return home to the EPIC on a future cruise.

  12. CubanToro

    July 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I have a pipe dream… and that is… someone… somewhere… built a exact replica of say… the Mauretania, Olympic, Aquitania, or the legendary Normandie. Something to bring back the style and glamoour of the golden age of liners. I am sure it would be a great alternative to these ugly hotels at sea leviathans!~

  13. Jim H

    July 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    There are some nice spaces, but one that stands out as a “miss” is the pool courtyard in the villa complex. It comes off as rather hard edged and sterile, and those spotlights shining down on it suggest a prison yard. Some color, maybe some richer materials, something is needed there to make it feel more luxurious.

  14. Joseph

    November 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

    In my 40 career at sea this is the worst looking ship ever. I sailed on cargo and tankers and none of them approach the horrid lines of the epic.

  15. gerry

    October 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Grotesque !! Here’s hoping they make lots of money from that grotesque box on her head ! Totally seperate from the rest of the ship ? Why bother ! Shave that off her top and the rest of her isn’t so bad,[ok, the waterslide looks like a DPU site in crayon colors]. Apparently american vacationers really don’t care what the outside of a ship looks like anymore as long as they don’t get bored between stops !

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