Norwegian Epic Dining by Paul Motter, CruiseMates Editor April 13, 2009
NCL's new megaship will offer more restaurants than any other vessel.
Norwegian Cruise Lines' new megaship Epic will have more restaurants than any cruise ship ever -- a total of 14. Most will be "alternative dining" venues, a term the industry uses for restaurants that assess a surcharge.
This is no surprise; NCL's "Freestyle" ships have always had a number of specialty restaurants -- as many as 11 on Norwegian Pearl, for example -- but the dining options on Epic will offer the most variety ever.
While the surcharges for these restaurants have not yet been announced, they will likely be from $5 to $25 per person. There will always be no-extra-charge cuisine in the regular dining room and the breakfast and lunch Lido-style restaurants. (NCL says its self-serve facilities are not buffet-style restaurants. The line uses the term "action stations" to describe how the food is presented.)
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The alternative restaurants will include many NCL favorites, such as Le Bistro and Teppanyaki, but they will be bigger and better on Epic. New restaurants on Epic include the first purely Chinese restaurant -- not Asian fusion as on previous NCL ships. O'Sheehan's, named after NCL's new CEO, will be an Irish pub with authentic pub food. The Epic Club and Courtyard Grill will be private restaurants for the Courtyard Villa "ship within a ship" suite guests only.
NCL claims to have invented the concept of alternative dining restaurants, the first being The Palm Tree, which carried a $35 service charge. I personally recall Le Bistro restaurant on the Norway back in 1992. But as I recall, the service charge was much less.
What is New on Norwegian Epic
Some of the new restaurants on Epic have never been offered on an NCL ship before.
The first exciting new option is an addition to an NCL favorite, Cagney's Steakhouse. The restaurant will also now include Churrascaria servings by pasadors. If you have no idea what that means, you are in for a treat. This Brazilian-style dining features servers bringing hot meats directly from the spit oven to you on a hot skewer.
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The service includes a wooden signaling device on your table to tell the pasadors you are ready for more meat. They bring the skewer over and will carve off as much as you want. The meat is succulently hot and delicious. I am sure this will be a favorite new dining option.
Another new option is O'Sheehan's Irish Bar, which will probably stand out more for its fun than its food. The fun includes pool tables, darts, foosball, air hockey and even three lanes of bowling. The food will include traditional pub dishes like meat pies and fish and chips.
The last entirely new option is Shanghai's, the new Chinese restaurant. The room will offer a mix of Chinese dishes and noodle bar specialties. Built around an open kitchen, the room will feature décor that reflects Old Shanghai in the 1930s and is reminiscent of the China Club in Hong Kong.