The Norwegian Epic surpasses the Jewel-class as NCL's largest vessel by almost 60,000 GT. Norwegian Epic represents the "third generation" of Freestyle cruising vessels and its size allows NCL to have a ship that is in the "mega-class" of their competitors at Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines, though still 32% smaller by gross tonnage than Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the world's largest and longest passenger vessels. The ship has 4100 passenger berths, with all outside cabins having balconies. NCL had stated that this ship would have 60% more passenger space than their then largest ships.
Norwegian Epic's Aqua Park' has the only tube and bowl water slide at sea. The ship also has a rappelling wall and two three-lane bowling alleys. It also has a 17-degree ice bar (17°F = -8°C).
The F3-class ship was built by STX Europe at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The last ship delivered to NCL that was not at least partially built at a German shipyard was the Windward of 1993. Since that date and until this order, NCL's newbuildings have been built at the German Meyer Werft, Lloyd Werft, Bremer Vulkan and Aker MTW shipyards.
On April 13, 2010 NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan along with Macy's, Inc CEO Terry J. Lundgren and NBC CEO Jeff Zucker announced that the Macy's 34th Annual 4th of July Fireworks would take place on the Norwegian Epic (The fireworks were off on another Ship) The NBC One-Hour Telecast of the Event was broadcast from the Norwegian Epic.