How to enjoy small ship style on large cruise liner
Make no mistake, Norwegian Epic is a big ship. Just under 156,000 gross tonnage, she was refurbished in 2015 and has a guest capacity of 4100 double occupancy and a crew of 1724. This 19-deck mega ship has a multitude of facilities, great entertainment with Broadway shows and 20 different dining options. There’s a multi-slide Aqua Park and state of the art fitness centre. Dining options include two main dining rooms, self service buffet and a variety of cafes, grills and on-the-go choices with changing menus and a great choice of wines and beers. Speciality restaurants are very popular, Cagney’s Steakhouse, Italian La Cucina and Le Bistro fill every night – you need to book in advance. There are also many bars and lounges to discover throughout the ship.
With such a huge ship and a lot of guests wouldn’t it be nice to find a select area where you can relax, unwind and experience exclusive facilities but still have access to all that a cruise on Norwegian Epic has to offer?
There is! It’s called The Haven.
My wife and I booked a classic Mediterranean cruise on Epic in the summer starting and ending in Barcelona and taking in some popular ports of call – Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno (for Pisa and Florence), Naples, Cannes and Palma Majorca. The Haven experience started some months before – included in our cruise were 3 specialist dining packages for 2, the ultimate beverage inclusive drinks package, complimentary bottled water each day, 2 x 50 US Dollars on board credit, 250-minute internet access and all service charges (tips) pre-paid.
Arriving at Barcelona port on embarkation day was busy but straight away The Haven experience cut in. Our cases were taken to a separate area and after security we were shown to a dedicated lounge with refreshments and a leisurely and quick check-in procedure.
Take a look at the main picture of Epic. You can see The Haven over two decks situated at the top and front of the ship accessible only to Haven guests. There’s a separate lift, reception area and a concierge on hand to assist throughout the cruise.
A number of Haven suites are also situated at the stern of the ship including ours. These aft facing Penthouse Suites with butler service command a super view from the spacious balcony, the only downside being the walk from our suite to the Haven itself – you certainly come to realise how long the ship is!
The Haven really is hidden away at the top of the ship and here you’ll find luxurious, well appointed spacious suites. The sundecks, reserved exclusively for Haven guests offered complete privacy with a bar, pool, hot tubs and plenty of comfortable sun loungers.
Your Private Sanctuary
This private sanctuary is a ship within a ship. We relaxed in the lounge and enjoyed exclusive dining in our own special restaurant. Exclusiveness doesn’t end there – priority tender access, evening turn-down service, and the butler personally escorted us off the ship at the end of our cruise and at each port of call on request. Our concierge happily arranged tours at each port of call and VIP seats for the shows.
At each port of call we took the opportunity to explore ourselves – shopping in Naples, celebrity spotting in Cannes (it was film festival week) and a super tour of Rome organised by Norwegian Cruise Line with coach travel provided from the ship and a very knowledgeable guide. The tour covered all the main tourist sites with lunch included at a lovely classic Italian restaurant just off Piazza Navona, one of the locations used in the Tom Hanks film Angels and Demons.
Norwegian Cruise Line has some amazing ships and with so much to do onboard The Haven is the ‘icing on the cake’. All the ship has to offer and more in your own exclusive space.
Give it a try … it’s a unique experience you’ll never forget.
More information can be found at www.ncl.com