If you’re one of those folks who like to set your own schedule for the day, prefer casual over formal, and want to choose when and where you dine – then Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has just the thing for you. They call it Freestyle Cruising and it’s one of the most flexible ways to cruise today!
I had an opportunity to sail on the Norwegian Epic and experience Freestyle Cruising for the first time a couple of years ago. My dear friend Dianne joined me, and we spent seven days exploring this amazing ship and experiencing many of the innovations that were cruising “firsts” when the ship debuted in 2010: the first ice bar at sea, the first solo studio staterooms and the first translucent bathrooms (OK, so this was not among my favorites). Considered a megaship, the Epic is a 19-deck marvel, with the capacity to carry 4100 passengers and 1753 crew members. Most notably, it’s received awards for Best Cruise Ship Entertainment (Frommer’s) and Best Caribbean Cruise Value (Travel & Leisure).
Similar to a small floating town (or a Las Vegas at sea), you’ll find a wide array of fun activities, more than 20 dining options, world class entertainers, shopping arcades, internet cafes, nightclubs and bars, an Aqua Park and much more. If you’re traveling with grandchildren like I sometimes do, there are kids programs that will literally keep them entertained all day and into the evening! These programs are staffed by trained professionals and allow your special young ones to interact with other kids on the ship during fun and educational activities. There is literally something for everyone.
What do I like about Freestyle Cruising? It allows me to set my own itinerary for the day and select those activities that I enjoy the most. Or, I can simply spend the day relaxing and reading by the pool. When I’m in my shorts and flip flops I can easily grab a quick bite to eat at the buffet, opt for one of the alternative dining options, or ask for my favorite pizza to be delivered (wherever I am on the ship). Dress is typically casual in the evenings too, but formal dining is still available for those times I want to dress up. What I want to do and whenever I want to do it – the choice is mine!
For those who like to travel solo, Norwegian offers The Studios, a complex of staterooms specifically designed just for you. These 100 square feet cabins are small, but comfortable, and include a full-size bed and access to a special lounge accessible only to those staying in The Studios. The lounge is a great area for mingling and getting to know your fellow solo travelers.
There’s nothing like a cruise vacation! If you like a variety of shipboard activities, lots of dining choices, wonderful food and outstanding service, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Norwegian Epic!
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August 13, 2014