A Modern Studio Stateroom on Norwegian Epic
An Exclusive Epic View
I am looking forward to the debut of the new NCL flagship, Norwegian Epic, so much that I have booked one of the innovative "Studio Staterooms" on the inaugural passenger cruise crossing the Atlantic from London to New York - just for myself. This first cruise sets sail on June 24th and precedes the two cruises where other reporters are invited to see the ship, not scheduled until she arrives in the United States; set for July 2-4 and July 8 - 10.
You shouldn't have to wait that long to get all the details on this exciting new ship, so while almost everyone else will be seeing Epic in July, CruiseMates readers will get the full story 10 days earlier. I also don't feel a two-night cruise is long enough to see everything this new ship has to offer - especially all of the impressive entertainment options onboard as outlined in our last newsletter.
Starting June 24th I will be uploading articles, dozens of pictures and even video regularly. You will have a chance to see everything about Norwegian Epic as she is on a regular passenger cruise - not the two day circus atmosphere common to many short, introductory cruises.
And there's more; I have booked one of the brand new Studio Staterooms that have tongues wagging throughout the entire cruise industry. While all of the cabins on Norwegian Epic feature innovative, modern décor, these Studio Staterooms are unlike anything ever seen.
The rooms are made to be occupied by just one person, something surprisingly rare in cruise ships. They contain a double bed and full bathroom facilities, but are also each connected to common corridor leading to a private - to the people in these 128 staterooms - but shared living room called the Studio Lounge. Here is a bar with a bartender, snacks, room service available, televisions and more. Since these cabins carry no singles supplement this living arrangement is ideal for single cruisers. They make it easy to meet and socialize with the other single cruisers on the ship -in a way truly never possible before.
This is the first cruise ship lounge exclusively available, 24-hours per day, to people staying in staterooms specifically marketed to single cruisers. It is possible some married people will book these cabins - as I am doing, purely in the interest of research - but on most cruises you can be sure the vast majority of these cabins will be booked by singles. Plus, the entire complex of staterooms and lounge are accessible only to the people staying in these cabins via a keyed access-point.
In further Norwegian Epic news - the ship has been chartered by NBC for the showing of the annual Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks show, which has been relocated to the Hudson River from the East River since 2009. Normally the network sets up to broadcast from the Intrepid, a battle cruiser turned maritime museum close to the Manhattan cruise terminal. But this year Norwegian Epic will welcome some 3000 guests of Macy's and NBC to watch the fireworks display from its decks instead. In case you are wondering - the general public is not invited to see the fireworks from the ship - sorry. It is in the hands of Macy's that night. It is a spectacular fireworks show, one of the best in the nation, and will be broadcast live on NBC.
In other cruise news -the Alaska legislature appears to be close to making changes in the tax laws that have caused so much contention between the state, its tourism industry and the cruise lines. This is actually a more important development than it may appear. If the cruise lines return to Alaska with more ships - and the taxes are reduced - it will make Alaska cruises more affordable for you - not this summer, but possibly next year and definitely by 2012. Keep it in mind.
Summer is getting closer and closer and many cruise ships will soon be moving from the Caribbean to Alaska and European cruising. I am already scheduled for three European voyages this summer which I will report on for you.
The first, sailing May 31st, is a new, specialized cruise line called Voyages to Antiquity. This new enrichment-focused line specializes in small ship cruising with an abundance of onboard lecturers; professors and authors on the antiquity you will be visiting. The ship is the MV Aegean Odyssey, a classic ship that carries just 396 passengers on 11,563 gross tons. We will be sailing from Rome to Sicily, but the ship has excellent cruises scheduled throughout the region for the best of antiquity including the Red Sea to visit Petra and the upper Nile plus visits to Israel, Turkey, North Africa and more.
July 10th I am scheduled to take a Viking Riverboat in Germany. Stay tuned to CruiseMates for more updates on the latest in cruising.
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