Published at Thursday, June 07th 2018. by daniel amoien in Cruise Ship Cabins.
While onboard one of NCL`s executives asked me what I thought of the ship and what type of client it would be best suited for. Without hesitation I responded that the Epic would be most appreciated by the client who has been on many cruise ships and now wants to experience something truly unique. Consistent with that it`s no coincidence that my wife booked the 15-year anniversary cruise for Direct Line Cruises` staff on the NCL Epic and now that we`ve gotten a small taste of it we can hardly wait until September when we set sail on the Epic for 7 nights.
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.
The next step above an outside cabin is one with a balcony (verandah). These cruise cabins have sliding glass doors giving you access to the outside. The sliding doors also mean you can see outside from anywhere in the cabin i.e. lie on the bed and still see the ocean outside. Usually the cruise balcony cabins are also larger than the standard cabins and some qualify as mini-suites. Which means they have a small sitting area with a loveseat or convertible sofa. The cruise mini-suites also usually have a curtain that can be drawn to separate the sleeping and sitting areas. This feature is ideal for couples (or friends) that have different sleeping habits.
Since all restaurants offer a variety of culinary choices any evaluation of food is influenced not only by personal taste but also by what items are selected from the menu. For example on the first night my wife and I ate at the Manhattan Room one of the ship`s main dining areas. She had a chicken dish which she evaluated as OK while I had scallops which were very good. Like all public areas on the Epic the layout and décor of the Manhattan Room was a tribute to the ship`s designers. Wide open and airy the Manhattan Room had the look and feel of a fine dinner theater. In fact I was somewhat surprised when our dinner host (one of NCL`s executives) informed us that the Manhattan Room was not a specialty restaurant. The other main dining room appropriately called Taste was also extremely well laid-out and pleasing to the eye. At the center of Taste is a beautiful chandelier (claimed to be the largest at sea) that spirals down from the deck above. Although I did not eat in Taste I am told that the menu is the same as the Manhattan Room so I would assume our assessment of the food would have been about the same (i.e. OK to very good depending on the entre` selected and of course personal taste).
The asking price for this ship is less than the price for one large apartment on The Magellan. The asking price and selling price are two different prices. This ship could probably be bought for about 11 million dollars. It would be foolish to finish this ship in a Greek union shipyard. It can be economically towed over to the nearby shipyards in Tuzla Turkey. The ship can be finished there quicker and for about half the price and with better craftsmanship. This ship could be bought and finished to a high standard equal to The Orphalese for a total cost of much less than 100 million dollars (maybe even as low as 60 million). It can be finished to order with each residential unit customized to suit its owner(s). The finished product would be a brand new completely modern ship with luxury homes onboard which would be at least as good or better than any on the market. That still seems like a big chunk of change. But this is a big ship and it would easily accommodate 200 luxury residential units and an additional 200 or so conventional cruise cabins like The Orphalese. The average cost of the residential units would be less than $500000. That would mean that the smaller residential units would cost much less than the average price. Also with an additional two hundred (plus) conventional cruise cabins the cabin owners could recoup much of the operating costs and thus virtually eliminate the maintenance fees for themselves. The expense to owners can be less than 10% of the going rates if the buyers did not need to pay some slick promoters and salesmen but just bought the ship directly themselves sharing the actual costs by dividing the ship ownership among the buyers. Why would anyone want to pay ten times as much money to buy and much higher maintenance fees for a similar shipboard residential unit? The only reason I can think of is to impress others with how much money they can afford to throw away. Again the asking price is subject to negotiation. Used ships can be refurbished to look practically new and can be brought up to international safety standards (SOLAS). There are shipyards around the world that can do good quality work at even lower cost than the shipyards in Tuzla Turkey. If a ship is currently lying in Greece (as many are) then Tuzla is the best place to tow it for major shipyard work. The SE shipyards in the Black Sea port of Nikolaev Ukraine offers the best value for the money in that part of the world. The bottom line is that smart shoppers can get good deals even on lavish purchases such as a luxury residential home aboard a cruise ship. I maintain a list of those who have expressed an interest. The list is confidential and will not be shared for any marketing purposes. The purpose of maintaining the list is to facilitate joint ownership directly between buyers without any middlemen or promoters involved.
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