I must go down to the sea again…..

Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic

I must – I really must.  Even though I just returned from Fort Lauderdale I hardly saw the salty stuff.  I spent most of my time inside unbearably cold air conditioned ballrooms and it was all in a good cause.  Learning more about cruising today – new staterooms, new cruise ships, the entertainment on board and quick-as-a-flash tours of a few of the ships in port.

So in this five day whirlwind what was memorable?  The sheer size of the new Norweigian Cruise Lines Epic.  Wow that is one big sucker.  My personal preference is for smaller ships but if I were travelling with my family then I can see the advantages of being on a larger cruise ship with all the fun new features. 

NCL has adopted some creative designs to maximise space such as curved furniture in the cabins.  It makes sense although I do think some of the taller guests might be a bit challenged by the curved bed.  They have also introduced single cabins in a special solo part of the ship so now singles don’t have to pay the supplement and also have a singles only place to hang out and meet other singles.  It’s all good in theory and actually the cabins are quite nice so it will be interesting to hear how those will sell.  Unfortunately these single cabins are only available on the inside and are rather snug.  I overheard a report that one of the larger guests on board said he felt like a Chilean miner in the shower.

We also toured the Navigator of the Seas – Royal Caribbean’s 3000 passenger ship.  Bit smaller than the Epic of the Seas – but still with all the “attractions” like the ice skating rink.  The shows there are very popular but I have to ask …. Why?  Maybe it’s because I’m from Canada that this doesn’t get me excited so don’t let my opinion sway you.  But hey I did like the real grass lawns on the deck of the Celebrity Solstice.  Celebrity always manages to create great ambience on their cruise ships and the food at lunch was excellent.  Out of all the big ships Celebrity (in my mind) comes out tops – although I would love to do a family cruise on one of the Royal Caribbean Freedom class ships.  I love the promenade and the flo rider provides hours of fun – just watching everyone fall on their butts is entertainment enough. 

I was fortunate to be invited on board the Regent Seven Seas Navigator – lovely little ship.  This line definitely caters to my age group (baby boomer) and what I particularly like is that everything is included in one up front price.  No need to be constantly reminded how much your vacation is costing you every time you order a speciality coffee or a martini – or even go on a shore excursion as it’s included.  The smaller size of the ship creates a very intimate feel and the ability to get into smaller ports of call makes its itineraries unique.

But whatever the size of the ship I do love to cruise and have enjoyed every cruise I have ever been on.  And I am not alone there – 95% of cruisers rate their experience as having met or exceeded their expectations.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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