Norwegian Epic: "Ships Within a Ship" by Paul Motter, CruiseMates Editor April 7, 2009
The new megaship from NCL pioneers several innovative cabin concepts.
Several new ships are scheduled to debut in the next few years, but two stand out from the crowd. We've already heard a lot about Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, and we will hear more. But another new ship is also about to change the look and feel of cruising -- although it has yet to receive nearly as much attention: The new design from Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Epic.
Epic is a 4,200-passenger, 150,000-ton behemoth that will have 14 restaurants and 17 bars and nightclubs. But possibly its most innovative feature is the variety of staterooms. The ship will have everything from possibly the smallest staterooms in a modern cruise ship -- the 100 sq. ft. "studio" cabins -- to the largest staterooms anywhere, the 5,200 sq. ft. Owners Suites.
What really differentiates the Epic is the degree to which it applies a relatively new concept in the industry, the "ship within a ship." This refers to groups of cabins built around a special area, and providing the occupants with exclusive access to it. Norwegian Epic has four different "ship within a ship" concepts.
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Other ships have "ship within a ship" experiences; probably the best known are Cunard liners' top tiers of stateroom categories, whose guests are assigned to special dining rooms the other passengers never see. These are the Queen's Grill and Princess Grill suites. Guests in the affected staterooms have special key-card access to these special dining rooms, and to a concierge lounge and special outside areas for relaxing and dining.
But Norwegian Epic has four different "ship within a ship" areas. They are not just about privileged or special access; they each exist for their own special reasons.
The Original F3 Cabin Renderings: Click on the pictures for the full versions.
NCLs New F3 Balcony Cabin 1
NCLs New F3 Balcony Cabin 2
NCLs New F3 Deluxe Balcony Cabin 1
NCLs New F3 Deluxe Balcony Cabin 2
NCLs New F3 Inside Cabin 1
NCLs New F3 Inside Cabin 2
For more information about the common amenities of all Epic staterooms see our article: F3 New Wave Staterooms
The Studio staterooms represent a new concept for accommodations in modern cruise ships. The name and the design come from urban "studio apartments" that have just one room with all the basics. These staterooms, at just 100 sq. ft., contain a queen-size or two twin beds and separate bathroom facilities. The shower and toilet are each in separate compartments.
They have the same modern design as the other staterooms on the ships (see our article on F3 stateroom design), but also come with customizable color-changing lighting effects that mirror different stages of the day or the guest's mood, including a "love" setting for romantic nights at sea.
click on pictures below for larger images:
Studio Staterooms Common Living Room
All studio staterooms are centered on a two-deck-tall common area called "the Living Room," featuring a concierge, bar, room service, two large TV screens, and comfy seating for hanging out, reading a book or just enjoying a cocktail before dinner. Each "Studio" has a large, round picture window looking into the common corridor; keycard-controlled access to the living room is limited to the guests staying in one of the 128 studio staterooms.