Image: Orlando Sentinel
"We saw great success in Port Canaveral when we returned to the port last year with Norwegian Spirit, so we felt it made sense to take our commitment to the next level by bringing Norwegian Epic, one of our largest and most awarded ships, to sail from the greater Orlando area," said Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart in a press release.
"Norwegian Epic revolutionized the cruise industry when she debuted in 2010 and she arrives today in Port Canaveral a nearly new ship, having undergone extensive renovations through the Norwegian Edge program, and will offer a variety of itineraries varying in length and ports of call. We think this will be a recipe for success and we look forward to having her in Port Canaveral in 2017 and 2018."
Epic comes to Port Canaveral on the heels of Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas' debut last week. Oasis is one of the three largest cruise ships in the world and can hold more than 7,000 passengers at maximum capacity, but the 155,873-ton, 1,081-foot Norwegian Epic has a 4,100-passenger capacity at double occupancy. The ship debuted in 2010, but was refurbished in 2015. It has sailed out of Miami and in Europe, but now will offer three-, four-, six- and seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Caribbean.
Epic's three-week dry dock overhaul in fall 2015 added new entertainment venue, The Cavern Club, based on the Liverpool nightclub where The Beatles first found success and the addition of the new Broadway show "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" along with "Burn the Floor," which did well on the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway. Restaurant La Cucina also received a complete makeover while the ship's Haven courtyard, lounge and restaurant, family areas Entourage, Splash Academy and Aqua Park received upgrades.
Epic's arrival is an upgrade from Norwegian Spirit, which sailed seasonally out of the port from 2015-2016. Spirit's presence came after 3 1/2 years without any Norwegian Cruise Line ship, though, but Epic is slated to provide service through spring 2018. Its eastern Caribbean itinerary will stop in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The western Caribbean itinerary has stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Several three- and four-night Bahamas cruises will visit Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.
"Port Canaveral is the proud new homeport for Norwegian Epic and our goal is to provide excellent customer service for our cruise guests, which is what Norwegian Cruise Line has come to expect of us," said Port Canaveral CEO John Murray.