Cruising, DESTINATIONS, International, Performing Arts, Restaurants & Bars, TRAVEL

La Cucina and other Epic places

On my way to a great meal at La Cucina


It’s almost humorous that I’d get all wrapped up in explaining the island shopping and our tour of Atlantis, and then almost forget to mention our meal at La Cucina. For some in our group it was their very favorite specialty restaurant on the Norwegian Epic, but it’s one that would be very easy to overlook.

Bad Location for a Great Restaurant

The first problem is the location.  It’s at the front of the ship beneath the Garden Cafe.  All the other restaurants are sprinkled between decks five, six and seven where all the other entertainment stuff is.  Not only is La Cucina in an odd place, it’s not all that easy to get to.  You have to go through the Garden Cafe and then go down a staircase.  Not exactly user friendly, but once you arrive, you’ll be glad you came.

In addition to the location, it would be easy to assume that this was just another Italian Restaurant – sort of a floating Olive Garden.  In fact, the cruise line suggests it is great for kids and I noticed that they have more reservations early in the evening than they do later.  What a shame!  We were there at 7:30 and it was lovely.

Seeing these signs while you’re at the buffet give you no idea what a treat it is to dine at La Cucina.

As you go down the stairs, you’ll notice a huge tree that dominates the restaurant, we were fortunate enough to be seated beneath its limbs.  The alfresco feel of the meal, without the alfresco distractions made for a pleasant experience.  It just so happens we’d also saved a very good wine to have with our pasta and it was a very nice complement to the meal.

Our service in La Cucina was by far the very best we got on the ship.  If for some reason I was ever booked on The Epic again, I’d forgo the rest of the dining venues and have all my dinners in La Cucina – it was that good.  I can’t recall exactly which starters, appetizers and desserts we chose, but it doesn’t really matter, because everyone was grinning ear to ear.  They were all delicious.

A Magic Show

I could rave on, but you get the idea, but the surprises weren’t over!  After dinner we decided to go to something else that was completely underrated, the magician, Jeff Hobson.  We were quite fortunate to see Jeff.  The Epic was losing him to Las Vegas after my cruise and then according to his website, he was headed to the Norwegian Pearl.  Wherever you have to go to catch him, just do it!

Norwegian EpicNow, Jeff is never going to unseat the likes of David Copperfield, but he’s really not trying to.  Calling what he does magic, is a bit of an misstatement.  He’s more a performer of sleights of hand than a magician, but magic is only the vehicle he uses to entertain the heck out of you.  He’s a very funny guy!

It’s ironic that the evening we enjoyed the least-touted of the Epic’s attractions was one of the best evenings for us.  The moral of the story is that you should try a little bit of everything when you’re traveling.  You never know what you’re going to like best.  If I’d depended on the Atlantis Resort, St. Maarten’s shore excusrion or the art auction  to be the highlight of my cruise, I would have been sorely disappointed and come home very unhappy.  Because I kept an open mind and tried to enjoy everything I did, we came home with smiles on our faces.

One more night on the Norwegian Epic and we’ll be headed home.  Please join us at Moderno Churriscaria next week.

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