Norwegian Epic & Rotterdam (V) in Rotterdam
Norwegian Cruise Lines' brand new 153,000grt Norwegian Epic sailed from Saint Nazaire to Rotterdam on the 17th June 2010, arriving at 9am on the 19th in the Dutch port.  The design was apparently originally offered to MSC who rejected it.  A hull was partially built for NCL before they were ordered to stop and version two with changes, such a a theatre and lido, would be produced.  This resulted in a three month delay as NCL and the shipyard worked through differences. During her building, she suffered three fires which were suspected to be arson.  I had booked the overnight from Rotterdam to Southampton, the first time I had done a trip like this.  My curiosity, having done Gem and Jade, was overwhelming.  I also booked two nights on the former Rotterdam, which opened in February.  I took the train from Schiphol to Rotterdam and thankfully I knew the way after going from Amsterdam to there the previous year.  My friend Ben was working that day so I made my own way to the hotel and got in a taxi.  We drove over the Erasmus bridge and I got my first glimpse of the mega beast.
My driver hadn't been impressed with her either, saying she was a block of flats.  The view from my porthole on Rotterdam was of Epic so I was beginning to get used to her.  The weather was very cold, blustery and with occeasional squalls between sunshine.
Epic was due to sail at 7pm but after waiting, freezing and getting soaked, I decided to give up and go back in to keep an eye on her.  After sorting out a problem with my room keycard, I went in and saw she had started to leave the berth so dashed back onto the Lido deck.  Thankfully it was just one deck up.  There were a few people on the deck taking photos.  It was a good place to stalk.
Epic blasted on and off but never responded when any other vessel parped to her.  Even when Rotterdam hit the whistle after the balloons had been released, Epic was mute.
It was already 8.15pm and I had no idea how long she would take to turn to head out towards the North Sea or where she would do it so went back to the room.  It had been wonderful being part of the Dutch send off as she went on the first media jolly.  In two days she would be back and I would board to come home.  For more photos of Rotterdam, click here.  The section will be updated soon with photos from my stay.  To see Epic arriving on the 21st June, click here.  To read the review of my cruise, click here.
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© Patricia Dempsey 19th June 2010
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