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A Cruisemates group cruise with Chef Matt Sigel of the popular series Hell's Kitchen. Norwegian Epic 10-30-10

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07.01.2010
The food on Norwegian Epic is surprisingly good.
Reviews of each restaurant below.

Dining on Norwegian Epic
When NCL added several alternative dining venues to their F2 (Free-style version 2) ships like Norwegian Gem and Pearl, I heard complaints about the standard dining rooms, suggesting a plot to drive cruisers to the cover charge restaurants. If that was ever true, it is no longer.

I have to say the overall quality of the food on Epic is surprisingly good - even the "no extra charge" dining rooms. The specialty restaurants are not all equal in quality, however, so I want to give a mini-review of each one.

Passengers can dine in any of 21 eateries on Epic. Many are open for breakfast, lunch and late night service. O'Sheehan's Pub serves delicious hot food and cold ale 24 hours a day at no extra cost at all - and this is some of the tastiest food on the ship. Here are reviews for most of the dining spots (prices are per person for all you can eat, except where noted as a la carte):


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Cagney's Steak House; fois gras to filet mignon; $25. This most expensive restaurant on the ship is worth the extra cost. For an extra $10 you can get a full lobster in a succulent creamy sauce or a 32-ounce (!) porterhouse steak. The steak is perfect for sharing between two or even three people. They will carve it tableside and can give the end portions to those who like medium rare and the center to those who like rare.

Teppenyaki: This is a Japanese restaurant with a performing chef cooking your entire meal on a hot grill surrounded by counter seating for a dozen patrons. The food and the jokes keep coming. Does the chef's ability to flip a full bowl of rice into his hat without dropping a single grain make the food taste better? Go for the fun, it's worth the price, but not the food.

Le Bistro French restaurant; $20. Truffled scallops over risotto, lobster in a delicious beurre blanc and flourless chocolate cake This restaurant is a staple on all NCL ships and the food is delectable. In fact, the lobster and 32-ounce porterhouse are also available here (also an extra $10 - but you save $5 over Cagney's).

Moderno; traditional Brazilian Charascurria; freshly roasted chorizo, lamb chops or cataņa; $18. This is the best restaurant on the ship at any price in my opinion. The meat is roasted on rotating spits under a hot broiler. Now, traditionally the fire is below the meat, but open-flames are dangerous on any ship so the heat is electrically generated. Still, the very slow roasting process allows the juices to steep the meat from the outside in - slowly and succulently. Cataņa is a top sirloin where the best cut is the first one. The crispy on the outside and liquid on the inside layer of beefy fat melts in your mouth - a carnivore's delight.

Cagney's and Moderno share a salad bar with gourmet offerings.

Shanghai; traditional Chinese food; $15. I have not tried this one and it is not well attended. The food appears to be typical American-Chinese fare from Kung pow to honey chicken. The décor is more American than Chinese with bright lights and wooden chairs.

La Cucina; Italian fare from pizza to seafood fettuccine; $10. Italian restaurants are very popular alternative dining on most cruise ships, but this one seems more of an afterthought for Epic. As my fellow cruise ship "critic" Doug Ward said, "any Italian restaurant with spaghetti on the menu is not authentic." I have to agree. Now, it is only $10 and my risotto was cooked just right, but the mozzarella was too "cheesy" to be authentic. This restaurant is right priced, but does not compare to the Italian fare on most cruise ships. Also - be sure to leave for your reservation early or carry a ship's map. The only access is by walking down a staircase hidden in the forward section of the Garden Café (buffet area).

Wasabi; the Japanese sushi bar, a la carte pricing with sushi rolls starting at just $3 is a bargain. A complete sushi combination plate with three different rolls and an appetizer is just $8.00.


Squeeze more everything into your vacation
Bring the whole gang on any Carnival Cruise and get ready for some serious fun. Because almost everything is included, like comfy accommodations, jaw-dropping destinations, delicious dining options, live entertainment, and so much more.
Offer Details >Book your Carnival function

Noodles; Chinese fast food with noodle and rice bowls starting at $2.50 a la carte. Once again, a very popular spot for a fast and filling meal at a very reasonable price.

Restaurants with no cover include Tastes and The Manhattan Club, the latter also has live orchestra dancing and late night stage shows. The Garden Café is the traditional buffet area, open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. The serving station design here is very efficient, although seating is in short supply.

Poolside, there's a very good hamburger, hot dog and pizza station. No charge.

Free room service is available 24 hours with the usual hamburgers, soup and cheesecake. You can have a fresh pizza delivered anytime, anywhere on the ship, for $5.

Care to discuss this topic in our forums? Live From Norwegian Epic!

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Legends on Norwegian Epic
Like many things about Epic that have surprised me, the debut of Legends at Sea last Sunday night was magnitudes better than I ever expected. blue arrows

Norwegian Epic Bathroom Controversy
If you haven't heard about the controversial New Wave Stateroom bathroom facilities on Norwegian Epic, where have you been? blue arrows

Live From Norwegian Epic
Follow my regular updates, several times daily from the Norwegian Epic first 7-day cruise, from a Studio Stateroom! blue arrows

Voyages to Antiquity Cruise Report
We had high praise for this new cruise line's business model. Now that we've sailed on it, let's put the promise into perspective. blue arrows

Classical Music Theme Cruise
Symphonic Voyages features full orchestra, special guests and immersion in a classical music theme cruise. blue arrows

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NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010 Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.

Allure of the Seas
Join your CruiseMates on the newest world's biggest cruise ship on October 2nd, 2011, on the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas slated to debut in early December of 2010. We have great prices and plenty of onboard fun in store for you!