I have to be honest, I’m a nautical novice. I’ve never done a cruise and I really don’t have a good explanation for it. Maybe its my passion for discovering new hotels, or just that I prefer to have my feet on the ground and lots of time to explore when we travel. This week, as we focus on luxe Nautical experiences for the family, I wanted to share a brand new cruise that has been creating a lot of buzz lately and I’ve been dreaming about taking with our family. I also want to hear from you – what are some of your favorite family-friendly cruises?
Dreamin’ of the Epic Norwegian
The brand new Epic Norwegian cruise is the inspiration for this post. With its official launch last weekend on July 10, 2010, the Epic Norwegian caught our eye with its swanky family-friendly accommodations and the largest Villas suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks at the top of the ship.
The connecting staterooms offer lots of choices for families seeking space to spread out. According to the website, many of the Family Balcony Staterooms come with two lower beds that convert to a queen, one upper bed and a sofa bed, to sleep a family of four. The family deck area is also in close proximity to the Epic’s Kid’s Crew® Zones and have everything to keep kids busy while mom and dad have a date night out.
The ship has endless things for families to do, including six bowling alleys, Nickelodeon at Sea™ themed family entertainment and programming, Epic Plunge, the only tube slide at sea, and The Aqua Park complex which has two main pools, five hot tubs, a wading pool and a dedicated kids pool and slide. For parents, you can grab dinner, a show, or catch a performance of the Blue Man Group.
Viva la Villa
Norwegian has thought of everything to pamper a family in style on the Epic. The Villas is the biggest suite complex at sea and includes an array of Suites and Villas on two private decks at the top of the ship. With its own private elevator, the secluded Courtyard Area has a private pool, two hot tubs, gym, saunas, sundeck, indoor/outdoor dining and a bar/nightclub. Butler and concierge service is available to cater to your every whim. Here’s a quick peek at the Courtyard Villas:
• Sleeps up to 6 guests
• 46 available
• Access to Concierge Lounge
• Combined living and dining area
• Two luxurious bathrooms with separate shower
• Queen-size bed
• Additional children’s bedroom
• Exclusive access to Courtyard Area
• Exclusive access to The Epic Club (dining)
Spa at Sea
With a full service Epic Spa, parents can escape and melt away stress. If you are going sans-kids, you can stay in one of the Spa Staterooms that offer private key card access to the spa stateroom complex, a queen-size circular bed, spa décor, entry to the Mandara Spa experience and fitness center. A private butler to bring you a glass of champagne in your stateroom hot tub or as you watch the stars from the privacy of your own balcony. Sounds heavenly.
Norwegian Epic is currently sailing her first Eastern Caribbean cruise which departed Miami on July 10, 2010. The ship is sail alternating 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries every Saturday from Miami through April 2011. This week, Norwegian Epic will make stops in St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau, Bahamas. On her Western Caribbean sailings, Norwegian Epic will visit Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras.
I must say, the Epic has made me reconsider booking a cruise this winter. Have you sailed on Epic? We want to hear how it went! Should we go? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you are planning a cruise for your family, also check out Travel+Leisure’s 10 Best Cruises for Families. It’s a couple years old, but gives you a good starting point for what to consider when selecting the right style of cruise for your family.
Need more nautical? Check out some of our picks for Nautical Dinner experiences and Luxe Nautical Style inspiration!