This morning I attended a press conference for Norwegian Cruise Line where Roberto Martinoli , NCL’s President and COO announced their $20 Million dollar reinvestment in their private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay.
I’d met and shared dinner with Mr. Martinoli at the keel laying ceremony for the new Epic several years back at the shipyard in France. At the time he was a consultant for the Apollo Group, who’d then become a major shareholder of NCL.
In the short time since he’s become the President and COO of NCL, and I’ve become a retired bar/restaurant owner, and snowbird. Mmmm
Roberto, along with NCL’s CEO Kevin Sheehan, and VP of Global Marketing all spoke of some of the upcoming features of the Epic. I do have to comment, that all three are amongst the friendliest and most approachable cruise line executives I’ve met. This made for a fun and relaxed atmosphere during the press conference.
But… now to the details. NCL is investing $20 Million to refurbish and refit their private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Work has already begun to build a new marina, on the back side of the island, away from the main beach area. This will allow more efficient tendering, and decrease the likelihood that swells caused by weather will be cause for cancelling the ship’s visit to Great Stirrup Cay. Once the pier is in place, they’ll be making the beach area larger.
In addition there’s an Aqua Park with water slides being added, as well as the addition of private cabanas, jet ski facilities, and new pavilions for food and beverage service. New housing is being added for the 50 NCL employees who will live on the island permanently.
The jet ski area, and the Sting Ray experience area will be located near to the new marina, and the location will serve to keep those separate from the main beach area.
They are also adding new water, and waste water treatment equipment.
Also announced was that the previous announced 20 dining options onboard is now incorrect. They’ve added one to the list to make it total of a quite amazing 21 dining options onboard. 11 of these options are included in your cruise fare, the other 10 require a surcharge .
The newest addition is Brazilian-style “steak house”, Moderno Chuuascaria, which will feature Passadores carving meats tableside, as well as an expansive salad bar. The surcharge for this restaurant will be $18 per person.
We were shown pictures of some of the indoor areas of the Epic, and it appears much of the work in those areas is completed.
One I look forward to seeing live, as the pictures looked very appealing, is Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, which will be open 24 hrs. a day. This looks like a huge improvement over the atmosphere of the 24 hr. restaurants on NCL’s previous ship.
Another new feature on the Epic is the introduction of the delivery of 16” pizzas of your choice, for $5. The unique thing here is they will deliver anywhere on the ship, except for in the restaurants. So, if you’re on pool deck, in the library, in your cabin, or watching some sports on the sports deck, you can order fresh pizza for delivery for $5.