The cruiselines certainly think bigger is better. I’m heading out for a quick look-see of Norwegian’s new EPIC (http://epic.ncl.com) — 153,000 tons! — which is being billed as the world’s largest floating entertainment venue. For the first time at sea, you can watch the Blue Man Group, or a big top at sea–Cirque Dreams and Dinner, laugh at Second City improv and Howl at the Moon, the rock’n’roll dueling piano show.
There’s an Aqua Park with the only tube slide at sea, the first-ever rappelling wall at sea, bowling, and Nickelodeon at Sea with all kinds of Nick-themed activities and interactive game shows. That’s assuming you want to vacation with 4,100 new-found friends, not to mention crew.
This on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (www.royalcaribbean.com) with room for more than 6,000 passengers and 2165 crew members that felt to me like family vacation on steroids. Read my column about that voyage. And not to be outdone, Carnival ‘s Dream (www.carnival.com) offers more than 19,000 square feet dedicated to kids and teens, including a WaterWorks aqua park and newly designed staterooms with two bathrooms and five berths.
Each of these ships, of course, ups the ante. The Epic even has a huge Villa suite complex with private decks.
Cruises remain a great vacation value for families and a good venue for multigenerational gatherings since there is literally plenty for everyone. The only bad news is you probably won’t see the kids much.
Look for me on deck waving at Lady Liberty as we come back on July Fourth morning. The EPIC is hosting Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular that evening.