The second of four pages in the comprehensive Decked! tour of NORWEGIAN EPIC covers the top deck areas, including the ship’s Aqua Park with its three massive water slides, the pools and sports deck facilities as well as the Garden Cafe, playroom and spa.
The starboard side of forward Deck 19 contains a sheltered sunning area in a similar configuration to that of the Posh Sun Deck on the port side, minus the wicker seating.
Forward Deck 18
Vertiginously situated forward Deck 18 is formed in a U-shape around the Villa Courtyard area and enjoys shelter from high winds via glass windscreens.
More sunning area for the non-Villa portion of the ship is available on the port side, although this area is “overlooked” by the Posh Sun Deck in Villa territory.
Aft Deck 18
Aft Deck 18 is the top of the platform leading to the Epic Plunge, a slide that begins with a 200 foot long tube exiting into a vortex where centrifugal force keeps the participant spinning for several loops until being dropped into a drain. Two other slides, accessed from lower parts of the same platform, also slink their way through the ship’s vast Aqua Park.
Deck 17 Sports Complex
In addition to its impressive views, the netted-in portion of the Sports Complex on Aft Deck 17 features a full-sized basketball court, volleyball, soccer, dodge ball and a batting cage.
The Sports Complex also contains a bungee trampoline suspended between the ship’s aft exhaust vents and the 24 foot tall Spider Web, an enclosed climbing cage.
From the Sports Complex, there is a nice view over the terraced stern of the ship, which includes Spice H2O, an adults-only complex accommodating 250 passengers. Music and an oversize LED screen entertain sun-worshippers by day and live performances are held here at night. During my two night cruise, this area was off-limits in preparation for the Macy’s 4th of July festivities.
Deck 16 begins at the base of the Villa Complex with sun decks on either side overlooking the Aqua Park, which features two pools, five whirlpools and water fountains that illuminate at night.
Promenades continue aft on either side, leading to the children’s pool and Splash and Play Zone.
The aft portion of Deck 16 provides access to the slide platform and rock climbing/rappeling wall.
In the aft portion of starboard Deck 16, there is an “adult-free” teen center and club called Entourage, containing video games, air hockey, five flat screen televisions and various other distractions.
23,511 square feet of prime, forward-facing Deck 15 has been allotted to the NORWEGIAN EPIC’s 728 seat Garden Cafe. Beautifully laid out with plenty of space between well-situated “action stations” (seafood, pasta, pizza, soup, salads, ethnic specialties, burgers and desserts), this casual eatery is decorated in “English country garden conservatory” style. There is a separate area with special seating for children.
Just aft of the Garden Cafe adjoining the Aqua Park is the 8,716 square foot Great Outdoors Restaurant, a staple on NCL ships since the advent of the SS NORWAY in 1980. An additional 364 passengers can be seated here under shaded canopies. Two outdoor buffet counters offer further food selections.
The Waves Pool Bar seats 22 in the shelter of the port Deck 16 overhang. A large bandstand and dancefloor area is just aft, promising to keep this area of the ship alive, pulsatingly loud and somewhat hectic throughout the day and most of the evening.
Various fountains add a festive flair to the Aqua Park pool area.
The three slides terminate in the aft portion of the Aqua Park, which is also home to its own dedicated children’s area, the Splash and Play Zone.
Accessed from aft Decks 15 and 16, the EPIC’s Rock Climbing Wall is 33 feet tall and 64 feet wide. It is adjoined by the first sea-going rappeling wall.
Sunning area continues aft on either side of the funnels to Spice H2O.
A video games room is located on aft/port Deck 15, just underneath Entourage.
Forward Deck 14 begins with the 182 seat La Cucina extra tariff Tuscan-style eatery overlooking the bow. Accessed from the forward portion of the Garden Cafe, the 3,831 square foot restaurant commands a $10 cover charge.
Accessed via the forward Deck 14 vestibule, Recess Kid’s Crew is situated near a cluster of the ship’s family-friendly adjoining staterooms. 2 through 9 year olds have their own air hockey table, interactive light-up dancefloor, Wii, arts and crafts room and surround sound cinema. 10 through 12 year olds have their own Wii and Playstation areas as well as a karaoke/cinema.
The NORWEGIAN EPIC’s vast Fitness Center is located just forward of the aft Deck 14 vestibule. It has a huge variety of cardio and weight training equipment, some free weights, various stretching and gymnastic areas, spinning and aerobics rooms and more.
The Beauty Salon is located just aft of the gym on the port side of the Mandara Spa Entrance Lobby on Aft Deck 14.
The Mandara Spa features separate men’s and women’s changing facilities as well as numerous treatment rooms (including Botox and teeth whitening).
A unisex Thermal Suite includes a large whirlpool.
The very aft portion of Deck 14 is the open relaxation terrace adjacent to the Thermal Suite.
End Of NORWEGIAN EPIC Quadruple Decked!, Part Two: Decks 19 to 14
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."