By “Epic cruise ship,” one of two things could be meant. First, when the phrase is spelled with all lowercase letters and is preceded by an indefinite article – “an epic cruise ship” – it only means any given cruise ship that might be described as “epic” (probably in the sense of “awesome” or “great,” not “of or relating to an epic poem”). However, “Epic cruise ship” might also refer to the Norwegian Epic, the largest cruise ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) fleet and at one point the third largest cruise ship in the world. It is to the Norwegian Epic that we focus on in the present article.
Considered by size, the Norwegian Epic is, indeed, epic. It has a gross tonnage of 155,873 and is nearly 1,081 feet (330 meters) in length. This is an enormous vessel, one that can almost hold 6,000 people – 4,100 passengers and 1,753 crew members. (This is why a few cruise ships showing up to port on any given day can radically increase a small city’s population, as happens when huge ships go to Venice.) Although one of the largest cruise ships in the world, it is still significantly smaller than the world’s largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, which has a gross tonnage of 225,282 and can hold more than a thousand additional passengers at capacity.
The Norwegian Epic was originally supposed to be built along with at least one other ship; together these two ships (and potentially a third) were to form a new class in Norwegian’s fleet, F3. However, in 2008, about two years into the project and with the construction of the Epic underway, Norwegian decided to cancel the construction of the second ship. In June 2010, the Epic was finally completed, and near the end of the month the vessel took its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The Epic is the only ship in the F3 Class, and it appears that (at least in the foreseeable future) no other ships will join it. An additional ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, has already entered Norwegian’s fleet in 2013, and this ship is in its own class, the Breakaway Class. Three more ships are scheduled to be delivered to Norwegian in the next several years, but none will be joining the F3 Class. (They will be joining the Breakaway Class or the Breakaway Plus Class.)
These are the basic historical and physical facts about the Norwegian Epic. However, there is much more to say about this enormous (or “epic”) cruise ship, including its dining, recreational, and entertainment offerings; the details of many of these amenities can be found in our article about the features of the Norwegian Epic.