Ship: Norwegian Epic
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Itineraries: Include a seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, Spain
Price: Western Mediterranean cruise starts at $749 per person based on double occupancy; third and fourth berth fares from $399
Standout Perk: An exclusive partnership with Nickelodeon
Want to introduce the kids to Europe? It doesn’t get easier than Norwegian Epic’s seven-night sailings from Barcelona, Spain. The newest, largest, and niftiest ship from the line that pioneered Caribbean cruising in the 1960s visits the Italian cities of Florence, Rome, and Naples, as well as the Spanish island of Majorca. However, a word of caution: Coaxing kids off the ship could prove a problem.
Its water park—a Norwegian first—boasts three slides of varying thrill levels, including The Epic Plunge, which swirls inner-tube riders around a bowl before spitting them out. Other standout amenities include a 33-foot-high rock-climbing wall; the first rappelling wall at sea; three bowling lanes in two venues; and a sports deck with an outdoor ice-skating rink, a full-size basketball court, a batting cage, a bungee trampoline, and more. The 4,100-passenger ship also has separate areas designed for kids (ages 2-9), tweens (10-12), and teens (13-17). The youngest can cut a rug on a light-up dance floor or catch a flick in a state-of-the-art cinema. Tweens can belt out Bieber’s latest on a karaoke performance stage. Entourage, the ship’s teen zone, is a game room with air hockey, foosball, and pinball by day and a dance club by night.
One of the most unique things about Norwegian is its exclusive partnership with Nickelodeon. Each cruise includes live Nickelodeon-themed interactive shows, breakfast with Nick characters, Nick-themed dance parties, and other events for the SpongeBob set. Serious fans should keep an eye out for the occasional Nick-themed cruise, featuring appearances by the TV network’s talent.
The Norwegian Epic will make its way to Miami for several months of Caribbean sailings in the fall.