Published at Tuesday, 15 May 2018. Cruise Ship Cabins. By noah seihan.
On this pre-inaugural cruise I tried two of the specialty restaurants Cagney`s steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria a Brazilian all-you-can-eat barbeque in which guests signal their servers with a green card (OK I`m ready for more) or a red card (No more please. I`m stuffed). My wife and I have raved about Cagney`s steakhouse on several other Norwegian cruise ships (e.g. the NCL Dawn the NCL Gem and the NCL Jewel) and we enjoyed it just as much on the Epic. On the other hand we were not nearly as impressed with the Epic`s Moderno Churrascaria which is the first such restaurant on any cruise ship. The salad bar was absolutely fabulous (especially the plump shrimp and fantastic gourmet cheeses) but other than the sirloin (which the servers cut right in front of you) my wife and I were both disappointed with the quality of the meats. Ironically my son Greg (who is CEO of Direct Line Cruises) and several of our staff members tried Moderno Churrascaria and really liked it. So don`t take my word for it.
There are actually some savings resulting from living aboard a ship. The ship`s executive chef buys food and kitchen supplies in bulk for the ship and can get better prices than the average shopper. Other savings result from the large freezers and the mobility of the ship giving the food service management the ability to stock up on supplies in countries where prices are low. Some crew and owners may choose to fish for leisure. This can supply some fresh food at even lower costs to the owners. Labor savings are realized when the crew is hired based upon the best global labor rates. The laws of supply and demand drive prices down in some places in the world. Proper ship management can capitalize on these disparities. All the savings would be passed on to the cabin owners resulting in an economical cost of living similar to what you could expect to spend with a conventional home. Ship management should have accounting transparency will all books (financial records) open and available for any owner to inspect. Also ship management should submit all financial records quarterly to an outside auditor for the peace of mind of the owners. Anybody in the chain who spends any of the ship`s operational funds should also be periodically audited. For example a good way to audit the executive chef would be for one or more of the live-aboard co-owners of the ship to go to the food market district of each port of call and they should try to haggle and get a better price for the same food than the price the executive chef was able to acquire. If the executive chef cannot find better deals than the ship`s co-owners then the executive chef should be given his walking papers. The executive chef position is a vital position on a cruise ship. This is a position of trust because he will bill the food he buys to the ship. He must never be tempted to accept bribes from vendors or suppliers. Therefore he should know that he will be routinely audited and any substandard performance will result in termination of his employment.
At 153000 tons with a passenger capacity of 4100 (based on double occupancy) the Norwegian Epic is by far the largest ship in the NCL fleet. In fact with the exception of Royal Caribbean`s Oasis of the Seas (which was launched in December 2009) NCL`s Epic is among the largest cruise ships at sea. It is also one of the most uniquely designed cruise ships that I have ever been on (... and I`ve been on quite a few). In most cases that uniqueness is a very positive attribute which reflects the thoughtfulness and attention that the Epic`s designers must have paid to maximizing the use of space to achieve a much bigger wide-open feel to all of the ship`s public areas. And the way that one area just seemed to flow into the next (without the cookie-cutter rigidity sometimes found on cruise ships) was truly remarkable. But in a few areas I did not perceive the unique design of the ship to be an advantage. For instance the exterior shape of the ship seemed a bit odd to me. The bow is somewhat stubby-looking and the stern is squared-off so that the ship does not have a sleek appearance from the outside. Adding to the irregular look is a massive 3-deck appendage that was seemingly plopped on top of the front section as an afterthought (or more likely to further maximize the ship`s interior space). Obviously the ship`s designers had to make some trade-off`s to accomplish everything they did inside the ship and after all from a passenger`s perspective the interior design is far more important.
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