Epic’s Deluxe Balcony AKA the Mini-Suite

“This is like the perfect London flat. Everything has a place.”

Carmen Roberts, BBC World’s “Fast Track”

It feels more like a yacht cabin than any other big-ship stateroom, with full walls occupied by built-in cabinets and small touches, from perfectly placed hooks to hidden but accessible electric outlets (both European and US).

I’m going to go against the grain here and say that for all its quirks — and this is the quirkiest modern stateroom design I’ve ever seen! — I really love my cabin. It’s not going to be for everyone (and we’ve not even gotten to the wacky bathroom analysis yet!). What’s important to figure out is whether this style is for you.

In this deluxe balcony (in human-speak it’s called a mini-suite) the walls indeed gently undulate. It’s very narrow and smaller than average, by industry standards, as NCL’s cabins typically are. The mini-suite is roughly two-thirds the size of a mini-suite on Princess’ Grand class (Princess’ are especially generous).

First the basics: All cabins come with flat-screen television, interactive system (with movies, shore excursions and the like), a coffee pot (bring your own teabags), a desk with chair, hairdryer (decent power) and beds that convert from twins to a queen. The duvet is a nice crisp cotton, as are the sheets. Beside each bed is a nice built-in shelf unit with a little bedside light. And all cabins have a sofa bed/loveseat.

Like all ships’ standard cabins these days, those on Epic are built in a cabin factory, are identical within each category, and are trucked to the ship and essentially slotted into place. They interlock with the cabins on either side like a set of Legos. That’s a challenge for these curving walls.

The biggest controversy about these cabins is the fact that the bathrooms (shower and toilet) are in separate compartments, and we’ve already addressed this to some extent (the issue is by no means over!).

Enough of that, let’s move on to pros and cons.

Pros:

  • The bed — and this is fantastic and cozy — is set into the curved wall. It gives you the sort of feeling of nestling in your mother’s arms.
  • The lighting … finally a cruise line has softened the lights (it’s not dark, just softer), though I still think dimmer lighting would be a revolutionary step!
  • Overall ambience is lovely. The color scheme is much, much softer than that on NCL’s Jewel-class ships — here we have earth colors with pretty, dark wood veneer cabins. There are lots of mirrors, both floor-length and otherwise.
  • A curved curtain has been installed between the bathroom/foyer and the cabin itself. It looks like a last-minute addition (and the curtain’s kind of cheap looking), but it does the job — which is to give privacy between the two areas.
  • The bed is flanked by built-in shelves (for eyeglasses, cell phone, book) and has accordion-neck book lights.
  • The bed’s marvelous. Could stay there all day.
  • Nice hairdryer, decent voltage
  • I always love a mini-fridge — don’t always use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

Cons:

  • This is a pro and a con! The cabin is definitely narrow. I didn’t feel it because of the placement of the mirrors and the curved bed (it’s harder to walk around your bed on Silversea’s Silver Spirit than in here); the mirrors help a lot, and so does the built-in cabinetry all along the walls.
  • I’m not going to be the first to say that the couch/loveseat (which folds out to a bed) is awful (attractive but of no use), but it is. Because of the cabin’s configuration, it was designed to wrap around the curve that bulges into the room. It’s not comfortable (very hard back) and you sit sort of twisted. At this point it’s become a storage facility for my stuff. I can’t sit there.

Next post: I’ll tackle storage. It’s pretty creatively designed.

CSB

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Epic’s Deluxe Balcony AKA the Mini-Suite

  1. Ron

    Hi , in the deluxe balacony is there a shower or tub in that room?? Also what deck are you on in the deluxe balacony room, im just trying to figure out if you are in a caterory D1 or D2 room??

    thank you

  2. Denise

    Thanks for this informative post about the cabins. Can you tell me yet what is planned for the spa cabins and what the spa area is like????

  3. Carol

    How do they divide the bed when there is so little room? My son and I are travelling together and we want the beds seperated. Do u have any pic’s of one that they have done thi sto?

    Tks for your help.

    Carol

    • Hi Carol,

      We got a peek in one of the cabins this morning as everyone was disembarking — no photos though, sorry.

      The beds do separate. There is a definite gap — but it is on the small side.

  4. Hi, Ron. In the deluxe verandahs you either get a tub (with shower) or a shower. The tubs are oddly deep so you kind of have to hoist your leg over the side. The showers are gorgeously deep (they’re the same length) with a nice shower head that’s removable. They’re so deep there are hooks in the back to hang your towels and they’ll stay dry as long as you don’t spray water directly at them!

  5. I’d like to add a comment as I am taller than Carolyn! I am 5’9″ and my feet were hanging off the end of the curvy bed unless I slept right in the middle on the longest bit! I heard others making the same comment. So be warned, tall cruisers! The storage is fantastic, though – families in one of the family deluxe cabins (similar to the one pictured) shouldn’t have any problems stashing their stuff. So many cupboards! SJB

  6. crusingici

    Also – curious how the couch makes into a bed for the 3rd person in this room. Does it pull out or do you sleep on the top of it? Seems quite crowded….. Have you heard if the couch made into a bed is as comfy as the bed itself?

    • The sofa bed just pulls out. Didn’t get a chance to see it in action, hopefully one of our members will post photos!

      Re the spa cabins, we did address those in our Norwegian Epic video, which is here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1133.

      One point that I forgot to make in the cabin analysis — and this surprised me because generally NCL crew are quite superb — was sloppy housekeeping. I was frankly appalled at how badly my cabin steward cleaned the room (leaving dirty glasses for days at a time was one complaint). I did mention it to a supervisor and it improved slightly but not overwhelmingly.

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