Carnival Spirit is a bit of a pip-squeak by comparison, but still has some advantages over Norwegian’s largest vessel.
|Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Spirit||Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Epic|
|Double Occupancy: 2124||Double Occupancy: 4100|
|Gross Tonnage: 88500||Gross Tonnage: 155873||12 decks||19 decks|
|CDC Score: 96||CDC Score: 99|
|Launched: 2001||Launched: 2010|
Carnival targets a wide demographic but so does Norwegian Cruise Line, and the mega-liner Norwegian Epic lays on a long roster of upbeat activities, as only one of the largest ships at sea could. The Epic, which launched in 2010, is like a theme park at sea, replete with name brand entertainment (Blue Man Group, Second City comedy), a rock climbing wall, more than a dozen restaurants and lots of passengers. While we found a wide variety of dining available on Norwegian Epic—far more than on Carnival Spirit—add-on charges were applied at most restaurants and in many cases the food simply didn’t live up to the surcharge.
Although cruise prices aren’t far apart between Norwegian and Carnival, for those who want a more upscale experience, Norwegian Epic offers one in The Haven, a private enclave with its own pool area, restaurant, bar and concierge. And Epic also has something fairly unique in the cruise industry: cabins for singles that are cozy (just 100 square feet) but functional, a great deal for solo travelers. Otherwise, we found standard cabins on Carnival Spirit to be better designed than their counterparts on Epic.
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