Cruise Ships Going “Green”?
Written by: Jan Shaughnessy
Are the cruise lines finally going green? One might think so when they sail on two of this year’s newest ships, NCL’s Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Perhaps these two cruise lines have gone “Green” with envy at each other, as they try to “Wow” customers with entertainment. Each of these ships has partnered with major entertainment venues that add a new meaning to the color Green. The Epic has partnered with Nickelodeon, and passengers can participate in “getting slimed” with ooey, gooey, green stuff. Royal Caribbean on the other hand has teamed with DreamWorks, and passengers may love the opportunity to meet and interact with that lovable big Green Ogre, Shrek. Both of these new ships offer a plethora of entertainment and activities and it may be hard to decide which one you should sail. So why not try them both!
NORWEGIAN EPIC – The Epic was introduced in July 2010. Country music legend Reba McEntire christened the ship in New York City on July 2, 2010. Quite appropriate that a ship focused on entertainment chose one of Country music’s biggest stars as it’s Godmother. While the ship offers something for everyone young and old, it’s target is passengers that enjoy the Las Vegas style entertainment. Casino lovers will be delighted to find one of the largest casinos at sea. Unlike most ship casinos, the Norwegian Epic’s is spread out along most of one whole deck. Very easy to move about, uncrowded, no zigzagging between machines and tables to get through the casino.
Staying with the Las Vegas style entertainment the Epic has partnered with Blue Man Group. They perform on the ship three times a week. The show would easily cost $100 a person in Las Vegas, but is free on the Epic. Another well-known Las Vegas show is Legends in Concert, a celebrity impersonator show, also free on the ship. Passengers may encounter the likes of Rod Stewart, Madonna, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and more. If you’ve still got energy left after listening to the Legends, then you may want to go jam in the “Fat Cats” blues and jazz bar.
A really “cool” experience on the ship is the “Svedka Ice Bar”; one of only 14 in the world and the first on a ship. The seats, walls, bar, and sculptures are all totally ice. For a $20 per person surcharge, passengers are loaned a faux fur coat to wear in the 17-degree ice bar. Two drinks come with the surcharge. Two other places on the ship you will find high-energy entertainment are the Bliss disco lounge and Spice H2O South Beach steamy experience.
With all that entertainment what more could there be? Well, how about laughing the night away at a Second City Troupe’s “Headliners” show, which is spontaneous and includes audience participation. Or you could sing along with “Howling at the Moon” in the dueling piano bar. If you’re looking for something really unique you might be mesmerized at the Cirque Dreams and dinner show, or a murder mystery dinner show. Charges apply for both.
Young and old alike will find various forms and levels of activities and entertainment on the ship. The ship has six bowling lanes (two three lane alleys in separate locations), a two deck high Wii screen (which is also used for showing major sporting events), a full basket ball court, rock climbing wall, and a rappelling wall. It also has a 24-foot Spider Web climbing cage. Kids may have to fight the adults for a turn at the Epic Plunge, a thrilling blast of inner tubing into a core of bowl slide with a drop through a 200-foot tube slide. There’s also an Aqua Park with two main pools, five hot tubs, a wading pool, and the kids’ pool with sprays and sculptures.
Don’t be surprised if you run into SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, and other Nickelodeon characters on the NCL Epic. Dora may show up at the nighttime deck party to dance the night away. If anyone is interested in a complete immersion into Nickelodeon the NCL Epic is offering an All Access Cruise on July 24, 2011.
ALLURE OF THE SEAS – Entering its inaugural season four months behind the Norwegian Epic, the Allure of the Seas isn’t lacking. Like it’s sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, the Allure has much to offer. The Allure of the Seas offers many of the same venues of entertainment as its sister ship with a few changes. Most notable is the Broadway production show “Chicago” and the partnership with DreamWorks. The Allure features a 90-minute presentation of the Tony award winning show. The team of young dancers and singers perform excellently. When leaving the show you may want to stop by the Royal Promenade on deck five and catch the parade with Shrek, Princess Fiona (the ships Godmother), and other DreamWorks characters. You’ll have other opportunities on the ship for meet and greet photos, tableside visits during character meals, and to watch 3D DreamWorks movies.
You won’t want to miss the exciting Boardwalk on the Allure of the Seas. Here you’ll find the whimsical Merry-go-round, clowns hosting carnival games, and waiters rocking to 50’s music at the famous Johnny Rockets diner. New to the Boardwalk are the Dog Haus stand and Rita’s Cantina where you might be find yourself wearing a Mexican sombrero and dancing. The Dog Haus offers a variety of seven different hotdogs and sausages with toppings. Complimentary and delicious! At the end of the Boardwalk you’ll find the Aqua Theater. The new show “Oceanaria” entertains guest with precision divers, aerialists, and trampoline acts. Other production shows that shouldn’t be missed on the Allure of the Seas are the “Ice Games” and “How to train your Dragon” in Studio B ice theater. Also in the main show lounge is the phenomenal show “Blue Planet”. You’ll be amazed with the dance, aero- acrobatics, costumes, and stage props to the theme of earth, sky, sea, and wind.
Various forms of music and entertainment can be found in the numerous bars and lounges on the Allure of the Seas. You’ll find Latin music in Boleros, sing along piano music in the Schooner Bar, disco in Blaze, and Karaoke at “On the Air”. For an Irish or British theme you’ll want to check out the “Bow and Stern” Pub, although the music might not always be very Irish. The “Comedy Live” provides laugh until you hurt entertainment, but if you want something lighter “Dazzles” and the “Viking Crown” offer easy listening music.
Outdoor enthusiast will find two rock climbing walls, a nine hole miniature golf, full basket ball court, and two FlowRiders (one for Boogie Board, one for stand up surfing). Like its sister ship the Allure also sports a Zip Line at sea, and an Aqua Park with H2O zone, babies pool, splash zone, and spray sculptures.
The NCL Epic and Allure of the Seas are two of the newest unique innovative ships on the oceans. Don’t miss the opportunity to see these exciting new ships.
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