This was the first time we tried NCL and sample the "third largest cruise ship" in the world that got us taking this cruise. Also we like to experience what free style cruising is all about.
The EPIC has 21 dining options and 20 bars and lounges. Every night there are lots of choices of shows to see (though you have to reserve your seats either pre-cruise or arrange via the interactive TV in your stateroom). There are lots of bars to visit and of course which restaurant to eat at (we tried the French specialty restaurant and the Spiegel Circus Dinner - worth paying the $25/person). We had pre-booked on-line the Blue Man show and the Legend (both complementary and well worth it). We liked the flexibility that came with freestyle - as one can be dinning any time with no preset sitting.
The check-in in Barcelona was very quick and efficient, and then off to the buffet Garden Restaurant for our lunch. The buffet restaurant is very busy all the time and we found this was always the case when the ship was at sea and at the beginning and end of the cruise.
One thing about free style cruising is the relaxed dress code throughout, so no need for the tux or suit throughout the cruise. This is a plus when you are restricted to 1 suit case flying.
Most evening we dined at one of the two main restaurants: Manhattan & Taste and had a decent meal, every meal that we had on-board was about ok comparable to a meal at a hotel nothing spectacular! I particularly liked the decor in Taste especially with the open concept in the center even though it is one of smaller of the two main restaurants. The Manhattan Room, which was very big and the window view at the back is great. We only ate once in a speciality restaurant which was just a great experience. Another great dinning was at the Spiegel Circus that was an experience on its own. We liked the relaxed atmosphere but seems lacking a bit of the formal night as expected in a cruise.
Overall, the ship is a grand one with a lots of things to do. There are times it seems everyone has to past thru the ship casino but not feel too crowded.Another novel idea is they have folders housing the pitures for each state room, no need to search for your pictures.