Norwegian Epic 2 Bed Family Villa

In September we spent a week on the Norwegian Epic as it sailed from Barcelona on a Western Mediterranean cruise.  There are posts to come about where we went and what we did, we had an amazing time.

First thing’s first……the ship itself and the accommodation we got to call home for a week.  The Norwegian Epic is one of NCL’s (Norwegian Cruise Lines) largest ships.  It can take over 4000 passengers at a time and has a crew of almost 2000 which is unsurprising when you consider it has 19 decks and is 1080 feet long.

We’ve been on the Norwegian Jade before twice and loved it, but it’s such a small ship in comparison, taking just over 2000 passengers max.  I must admit I was nervous that I wouldn’t like the Epic as much as the Jade and when it comes down to outwards aesthetics the Jade is a more attractive looking ship for me.  The Epic looks immense, pointy and serious, a bit like a catwalk supermodel compared to the Jade’s curvier, friendlier Littlewoods catalogue model look.

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic at sea in Cannes

I was also worried that as we were travelling in early September and the ship could hold double the number of passengers we were used to that we’d feel overwhelmed with the crowds.  Before we departed I’d received an email advising us to register any young guests in the kids club on the first day as the ship was due to be full and there were high numbers of children sailing and they couldn’t guarantee that every child would be able to go into the kids club.  The thought of a busy ship with lots of children roaming around filmed me with dread.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Admittedly the check-in procedure at Barcelona was really busy, similar to when you check in to any large airport, and it did feel a bit chaotic, but once on-board the crowds seemed to thin out.

As per our previous holidays with NCL we decided to splurge and booked a suite rather than a standard stateroom.  On the Jade we have booked the Haven Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony which is huge at about 73 square metres.  We have been definitely spoilt.  On the Epic we booked the 2 bed Family Villa which comes in at 47 square metres and can sleep six people.  I appreciate 47 square metres is still a lot of space for your holiday accommodation.

The décor on the Epic is definitely more modern than the Jade and not as garish and we were really pleased with the family villa.  It was great to have two bedrooms (on the Jade the boys slept in the living area) and I can imagine when they are older they will love their own space even more as they had their own TV and games console in there as well as their own bathroom.

bedroom

The second bedroom. There is a bed which comes down from the wall too.

storage

Tons of storage in the second bedroom. You can never have too much storage.

The master bedroom was very plush and in its own area off the living space with a huge bathroom.  The bathroom was great, with both the shower and bath having floor to ceiling views outside.  The kids loved having their bath in there before we went out for our tea and we often left a port while they were in the bath which was pretty surreal.

master bedroom

What do you mean your bed at home isn’t surrounded by mirrors? There was even a red ceiling light!!!!

bathroom

Bathroom with an ever changing view

shower

Mr ATWWAH and I decided that the glass wasn’t see-through on the other side.

The living area was plenty big enough for four people with a sofa, TV, table and chairs, mini bar area and coffee machine as well as lots of hidden storage cupboards which were great for keeping the place looking reasonably tidy.  Mini ATWWAH loved that the mini bar fridge was on the floor and spent many a happy hour emptying it of the cartons of milk and apple juice.  We had to move all the interesting drinks to the shelves as they were in glass bottles so it looked like we were in a bar.

living space

The living space in the Family Villa

mini bar

The mini bar moved thanks to Mini ATWWAH

There was plenty of roaming space for Mini ATWWAH and it was all reasonably safe.  Master ATWWAH took full advantage of the films on demand and developed an obsession with the film Tinker Bell and the Legend of The Never Beast.  There is no accounting for taste.  The only kids TV channel was Nickelodeon which he thought was marvellous as the oldest TV he gets to see at home is Nick Jnr.  Although to be fair there is so much going on that you don’t need to worry about the TV offerings.

The only downside about the accommodation was the balcony space.  We have been so spoilt previously on the Jade that the regular size balcony on the side of the ship didn’t feel that special.  But, as I say we are very spoilt with previous experiences and there is nothing wrong with it.  In fact, in Cannes it was good fun watching from the balcony as the crew put the lifeboats back on to the side of the ship underneath us after they had been used as tenders.

When you book a suite on NCL you are automatically in what they call The Haven Class which means you get some nice extras including a concierge who you can book any trips with in ports, help with restaurant reservations and book show tickets with.  There is reserved seating in the theatre, right at the front, for people who are in the Haven, which is a nice perk.  Embarrassingly you also get a butler.  Ours was called Jonathan and he was fantastic, so friendly and full of stories about the ship and the places it was going.

As well as all the public outdoor spaces on the ship if you are in the Haven you have access to a lovely, large pool/courtyard area with lots of sun loungers and a restaurant which serves food and drinks throughout the day.  There is also an outdoor bar/sun lounger area right on the very top deck with great views of the pool deck so you can soak up the atmosphere but not have to fight for a sun lounger but annoyingly it’s over 18’s only.

pool

The Haven Courtyard and Pool on the Norwegian Epic

Haven bar

The view from the over 18’s bar and sun lounger area

Your breakfasts are in the Haven restaurant which is a mixture of buffet and waiter service and you can also eat in there for lunch and dinner too with a great menu.  This is all included in the cost of your holiday.  There is also a bar just for Haven guests too.  We didn’t use it but I caught sight of a gym too overlooking the Courtyard.

bar

I really want these chairs….they were in the Haven bar

When we sailed there was a mixture of guests in the Haven, some with kids and some without.  I think the kids may have come as some surprise to some of the older guests as they didn’t always look too happy when they saw them in the restaurant or around the Haven pool.

On one afternoon we headed to the Haven courtyard area with the boys who decided to do what little boys do and make some noise around the pool.  The middle aged couple on the sun loungers in front of us turned to say the area was adults only and we had an awkward conversation where I explained that was the area upstairs, not the pool area.  They weren’t impressed, tutted and said they were going back to their room.  Oops.  I even double checked later that day and Jonathan clarified that I was right and they do occasionally get guests who don’t appreciate children being around.  I say to those people that there are lots of ships which are adult only so it’s probably best to book on to one of them next time.

It was definitely worth splurging and booking the Family Villa, having two bedrooms was a nice luxury and there was a lot of room to move in when we were back in there.  The extras definitely help too although it was a bit irritating that the best spot on the ship was over 18’s only, especially as the couple of times I wandered up there it wasn’t very busy at all.

There are more posts to come on things to do with kids on the Epic as well as the lowdown on the port stops we made.  In the meantime if you want more cruise posts why not try one of these?

Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony on the Norwegian Jade

Why you should try a cruise holiday for your next family getaway

NCL cruise Croatia port stops

Greek island cruise adventure

10 things to do with kids on the Norwegian Jade

 

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