Kids should also find plenty to like about the outdoor recreation area. The stars of the Aqua Park are a pair of slides that send riders into a freefall when the floor drops out from under their feet. Another pair of fast-moving, twist-filled slides are also fun, while a more gentle option gives reticent parents an easy way down. Water on the slides was heated during a cold day, but if you forget to pick up a towel on your way, it’s a long and chilly walk to fetch one.
One of the main pools is oddly situated under the slide tubes; another is in a more open area of deck 15.
The basketball court and climbing wall that appear on other Norwegian ships are back, but overshadowed (in every way) by the nail-biter of a ropes course. There’s a heavy-duty harness that keeps users attached, but it’s still dizzying to walk along unsteady boards, thick ropes and surfaces smaller than a shoe. Speaking of shoes: best to wear sneakers.
To conquer The Plank, one must traverse at least part of the ropes course — it’s possible to map out the shortest possible route, but what would the fun be in that? Stepping on a small pad near the end of the beam tells a camera you’re ready for your close-up. (The feature wasn’t working on the inaugural cruise, so this daredevil has no proof of her bravery.)
Finishing the course is a 100-foot zipline, another first for the line, though not for the industry.
The course was a winner for Phillip LaRue, 27, of Brooklyn. An employee of American Express Travel, he’s a frequent cruiser who has sailed on Norwegian Epic.
“They really took the best things about Epic and kept improving upon it,” he said. “You can’t beat the ropes course.
For those who want to see the course up close without actually traversing it, a miniature golf course is right underneath. A jogging track is also close to the activity, but a little too close. Gawkers frequently get in the way of runners.
For those who want to avoid obstacles while working out, the gym is divided into a cardio section on one side of a hallway and another area with weights, a group fitness room and spinning area. Classes include fight training with a simulator and a leg-intensive class designed by the Rockettes, who are the godmothers of the ship.
An old-fashioned barber shop and a beauty salon flank the spa, which boasts a salt room and 22 treatment areas.
For Harry Kroll, a Broward-based cruise specialist who spent two days on the ship with his wife, the ship offered plenty to praise — including the ease of finding everything.
“We’ve been on ships that we’ve been on a week and haven’t seen everything,” he said on the final night. “I feel like we’ve seen the ship. And it was easy.”
Kroll was a fan of Epic, aside from the bathroom design. He appeared to have little to complain about after exploring the new ship.
“I think they hit it out of the park,” he said. “This is a home run ship.”