We’re onboard Norwegian Epic!

I’ve just arrived at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, a vessel we’ve dubbed the “it” ship of 2010. Its earned the nickname because Norwegian Epic, in its own distinctive way, is as innovative in terms of design and features, as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which I’m sure you’ll recall debuted last year.

Norwegian Epic, which was only officially delivered on Thursday, arrived here in Rotterdam this morning and boarded its first set of passengers shortly after noon. The fact that the ship already looks really put-together is an amazing feat in itself (one that we address in our new Q&A with Klaus Lugmaier, the cruise line’s hotel director, http://bit.ly/aO7gTR )

But what’s more important of course is what the ship looks and feels like! Since NCL was pretty cagey throughout the nearly four years it took to plan, design and build Norwegian Epic, all we had to go by was renderings, essentially architects idealized visions of spaces on a ship. Now, having seen it (in a whirlwind tour this afternoon) in reality, my overall reaction is an enthusiastic “wow!” I can’t wait to see more, experience more, learn more as the week progresses.

At Cruise Critic we think Norwegian Epic’s design and debut is pretty important stuff so we’ll be all over the place with all sorts of coverage, beginning today in Rotterdam. We’ll keep it up as the ship arrives at Southampton for a couple of days of festivities there – and then culminate in the grand finale of its New York City christening on July 4, complete with fireworks.

What will you find? Our homepage will feature news stories as they occur. On Cruise Critic’s Norwegian Epic forum, Kelly Ranson, our U.K. editor, will literally be running around the ship looking for answers to member’s questions (go here to post yours: http://bit.ly/d5pFkf ). We may throw a few polls into the forum as well. On this blog I’ll be posting impressions and opinions about what I’m seeing on Epic, along with some photos. And keep an eye on Cruise Critic’s Facebook (facebook.com/cruisecritic) page and follow our tweets on Twitter (twitter.com/cruisecritic and twitter.com/cruisecriticUK). And finally, prepare for a few surprises….

Can you tell we’re excited about Epic?

And a reminder that Cruise Critic isn’t simply a vehicle for us to tell you what we think. We want to know what’s on your mind, too.  Join the debate, ask a few questions, vote in our polls and tell us what you want to know about when it comes to Norwegian Epic.



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